Decision of the Week – Charter Challenge for Search under the Traffic Safety Act

A frequent request of the library is for research on the validity of a search of a vehicle. This decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal analyses the steps the police must take to ensure compliance with sections 8, 9, 10 and 24(2) of the Charter.


[3]               The appellant appears to urge that this dominant objective in the mind of the police officer, contaminated the interaction with the appellant such as to occasion within the interaction between them the following “cascading” series of Charter breaches: (a) an almost immediate and continuing arbitrary detention contrary to s 9 of the Charter, (b) an improper questioning contrary to s 10 of the Charter, (c) unreasonable searches and seizures under s 8 of the Charter in the forms of a police dog sniffing around the vehicle and a pat down search of the appellant, (d) an unlawful delay in advising the appellant the reason for detention contrary to s 10(a) of the Charter and (e) an unlawful delay of advisement of the appellant’s right to counsel on detention under s 10(b) of the Charter: adapting what this Court said in R v Ali2016 ABCA 261 (CanLII) at para 3, [2016] AJ No 914 (QL).


[4]               The appellant goes on to say the evidence of the police seizure of hard drugs and a gun with ammunition from the vehicle should be excluded under s 24(2) of the Charter.

2019 ABCA 93

What is interesting to me is that Watson, J. references Crozier v. Cundey, a decision of 1827:


[35]           For what it is worth, the real mitochondrial father of both discretionary powers and limits thereon by police may be Crozier v Cundey (1827), 6 B&C. 232[1]. There, speaking as if it had long been thus, the King’s Bench noted where police might proceed without warrant and when they might not[2]Crozier need not be dismissed as merely a quirk of history. Tracing its influence through later cases shows it to be a foundation stone on which a significant part of police authority and its limits came to be constructed over the generations.

R. v. Zolmer, 2019 ABCA 93. H/t to “What’s hot on CanLII”.

Decision of the Week: Reference re Health Care Certification

The Manitoba Court of Appeal released this Reference re Certification in the Manitoba Health Sector, 2019 MBCA 18.


[2]                           This matter comes before this Court as a reference from the Manitoba Labour Board (the Board).  The Board may refer any question of law for a final determination by this Court (see section 143(4) of The Labour Relations Act, CCSM c L10 (the LRA)).  This reference concerns a controversy that has arisen as to the correct procedure for non-unionised employees in the health sector organising for the purpose of collective bargaining under this new model.  The dispute is about who is the appropriate decision-maker as to an application for certification in the health sector.  The two possibilities are the Board exercising its authority under the LRA or the Commissioner exercising his authority under the Act.

A unanimous Court determined that the Commissioner is the sole decision-maker for an application for certification in the health sector.

Decision of the Week: Sexual Offences Sentencing

The following decision was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada: R. v. Friesen, 2018 MBCA 69. As summarized in Supreme Advocacy Letter #11 (2019):

Mr. Friesen met the mother through an online dating website. The mother brought Mr. Friesen to her home. On the date of the offence, the mother’s children were sleeping and were being cared for by the mother’s friend in the mother’s house. Mr. Friesen asked the mother to bring the child into the bedroom. The mother’s friend was awoken by the child’s screams, entered the bedroom and took the child out of the bedroom. Mr. Friesen demanded the mother retrieve the child and threatened her if she did not comply with his demand.  Mr. Friesen entered guilty pleas to sexual interference and attempted extortion. The sentencing judge imposed a sentence of six years’ incarceration concurrent on both charges. The C.A. granted leave to appeal sentence. The C.A. allowed the appeal and reduced the sentence from six to four and one-half years’ incarceration for the sexual interference conviction and reduced the sentence from six years to 18 months incarceration concurrent for the attempted extortion conviction. “The motion for an extension of time to serve and file the response to the application for leave to appeal is granted. The application for leave to appeal…is granted.”

Decision of the Week: Oppression

This week’s decision concerns an application for an oppression remedy: Caughlin v. Canadian Payroll Systems Inc., 2019 MBQB 6.

Caughlin … alleges that the conduct of Lyle and CPS has been oppressive and unfairly prejudicial and that there has been an unfair disregard for his interests. Caughlin seeks a remedy to address the inequitable conduct and activities of Lyle and CPS.

Para. 3

As noted by Harris, J., s. 234(2) of The Corporations Act, C.C.S.M. c. C225 explains the grounds for seeking an oppression remedy, and the leading case is BCE Inc. v. 1976 Debentureholders, 2008 SCC 69.

Decision of the Week

Costs awarded personally against counsel are a rare occasion. At 41 pages, R. v. Gowenlock, 2019 MBCA 5 is a detailed analysis of when it is appropriate to do so, and the amount that should be awarded. This was a decision of first impression and had the benefit of two intervenors, the Attorney General for Manitoba and the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association of Manitoba, as well as amicus curiae.

This appeal offers this Court the opportunity to provide certainty, clarity and guidance for the development and application of principles and procedures in regard to the costs-awarding rules. It is worth re-emphasising that the discretion to exercise the power to award costs against counsel personally must be exercised with restraint and that this is especially so in the criminal context. Courts must ensure that any costs award against defence counsel does not in any way affect the accused’s right to make full answer and defence. Courts must also be aware that unjustified non-compliance with valid court-ordered timelines causes delays and that these delays prejudice the accused and undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.

Para. 88