Key evidence in a home-invasion case has been tossed out after a judge said Ottawa police unlawfully arrested, and unreasonably searched and detained a suspect for 16 hours without grounds in what he described as a “gratuitous insensitivity” to the young man’s charter rights.
“There is no way to sugar-coat or gloss over these infringements. Our system is designed to ensure that citizens are not arbitrarily arrested. … It is designed to respect the presumption of innocence. Here, the police held a man for 16 hours without grounds or legitimate purposes,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Rick Leroy ruled in a Feb. 9 decision.
The judge said the community has an interest in a legal system that operates within the law, and said that the admission of evidence in this case would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
“What is most troubling about this case is both the ignorance of and disregard for basic charter rights demonstrated by some of the officers involved. These rights are simple, guaranteed and essential knowledge for all police officers,” said Michael Purcell, the defence lawyer who filed the successful application to exclude the tainted evidence from trial.