This decision involved analysis of the principles articulated in R. v. Grant, and their application to a suspected gang leader whose vehicle proved to contain a number of prohibited and restricted firearms.
The firearms in question were discovered by police who were in the process of installing a tracking device in an SUV owned by the Appellant, James Bacon. The officers in question had obtained a warrant to install the tracking device. The warrant was later set aside on the basis that the redacted Information to Obtain a Search Warrant did not contain sufficient grounds for the search in question. The question for the Court of Appeal was whether, in light of invalidated warrant, the various firearms could be entered into evidence to support ten serious weapons charges against Bacon.
The Court of Appeal ultimately upheld the convictions entered by the trial judge, noting that the Charter breach in question was not sufficiently serious to bring the administration of justice into disrepute, especially considering that the police already had a valid search warrant authorizing a search of the vehicle in question. Furthermore, the Court found that the circumstances of the case supported a reduced expectation of privacy for Mr. Bacon, and that society’s interest in adjudicating the case on its merits outweighed any privacy interest Mr. Bacon might have had.
Decided by the British Columbia Court of Appeal on July 27, 2012.
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