Mar 17, 2014

Summary of R v Robillard

R v Robillard, 2012 SKPC 156 (CanLII)
The accused was charged with: obstructing a police officer engaged in the lawful execution of his duties by running away when told by the officer that he was under arrest, contrary to s. 129(a) of the Criminal Code; and resisting arrest contrary to s. 129(a) of the Code; and assaulting a police with intent to prevent his lawful arrest contrary to s. 270(1)(b) of the Code. The officers testified that they had been called by a band councilor on the reserve that while she was picking up her son from the home of the accused, she heard two gunshots come from inside the house. At trial, the councillor testified that she had not actually heard any shots but had been informed by someone else at the band of this and had passed the information on to the RCMP. The officers felt that the situation was serious because they knew that the accused had a history of violence. They received further information en route to the reserve that the accused was intoxicated and was walking home from the band office. At the reserve, one of the officers saw the accused walking down the street and yelled at him a number of times that he was under arrest. The accused did not respond and the officer gave chase. The accused reached his house before the officer caught him. Two other officers came to the site and decided to enter the house without a warrant believing the circumstances to be exigent and in the belief that the accused had been arrested. One officer testified that he was concerned with danger to the general public based on the information that the councilor had heard two shots fired inside the house. Without further investigation, the officer decided that they did not need a warrant. Thus, when the accused refused to open the door, the officers broke it down and forcibly controlled the accused. The accused kicked one of the officers in the chest. The accused testified that he was never told the reason for his arrest and he denied that he resisted and denied kicking the officer. He testified that the officers broke into his house and beat him up. After the incident, no weapons were found in the house.HELD: The Court stated the charges shared the common basis that the police were engaged in the lawful execution of their duty. The Court found that the police did not have grounds to arrest the accused other than the information they received from the band councillor. They had not investigated the complaint. The accused was not required to submit to the arrest as he was not informed of the reason for it and it was therefore unlawful. In fact, no arrest occurred because the accused had not submitted and the officer had not touched him. Therefore the accused was not guilty of obstruction. The accused was in peaceable possession of his home and was entitled to use reasonable force against trespassers and was found not guilty of the two other charges. The Court held that if those conclusions were wrong then it would find the accused not guilty on the basis that the police failed to make any investigation of the complaint and therefore did not have sufficient grounds to arrest the accused. The forcible entry into the accused's house without warrant was unlawful. Authorized entry under s. 529.3 of the Code requires that certain conditions must exist to obtain a 'Feeney' warrant, including that there are grounds to arrest a person without warrant and it must be impracticable to obtain one. In this case, there were no grounds to arrest and there was no evidence that it would have been impracticable to obtain a warrant. The evidence did not show that there was imminent danger to the public, so the circumstances were not exigent. The Court found that the officers were not in hot pursuit as there was no continuous pursuit as required by R. v. Macooh. The Crown failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the police were acting in lawful execution of their duty. The accused was acquitted on all counts.