R v Peekeekoot, 2017 SKQB 27 aka. Machete Pants
An interesting case out of Regina Court of Queen’s Bench regarding searching a person incident to investigative detention by the Hon. Justice McGaw.
On May 20th, 2015, Regina Police Constable Salamon and his partner received a dispatch call regarding a robbery that had occurred at approximately 11:45 p.m. The dispatch indicated that the suspects matched the following descriptions:
- Three males;
- One wearing all white;
- One wearing all black;
- One with a white sweater and green stripes;
- The victim was robbed at knife point and a cell phone was taken;
- The robbery was performed by three males, all native and a knife was involved; and
- The male natives were shorter than six feet two inches.
Within a few minutes of the dispatch, Constable Salamon and his partner came upon a group of four males. One was wearing white track pants with a black shirt so the Regina police officers thought they’d approach the group to determine whether they were involved in the robbery.
As they walked up to the group, Mr. Landon Peekeekoot started walking in another direction. Although Constable Salamon suggested that he “chased” Mr. Peekeekoot, it later became clear that Constable Salamon just caught up to him as he was walking away. As Mr. Peekeekoot was only guilty of being outside at 11:45 and walking in the opposite direction of police at that point, Constable Salamon did not have any grounds to arrest him.
The officer detained him for investigative purposes, placing Mr. Peekeekoot in handcuffs and proceeding to search him. In Mr. Peekeekoot’s pants, Constable Salamon discovered a machete.
In ultimately disallowing the evidence of the machete, McGaw J. notes at para. 36 that
“It is appreciated a police officer’s job is inherently dangerous. It is not the intention of the court to make it any more so. However, the guidance given in Mann is clear on the requirements to effect a search on an investigatory detention. The guidance is also clear that the interference with liberty at this stage is to be as minimal as possible.”
McGaw J. seems to agree with the issues raised by the defence, namely that the detention was arbitrary because based on the “complete constellation of facts, there was no reasonable basis upon which to form a suspicion the group to which [Mr. Peekeekoot] belonged had been involved in the recently reported robbery.” Specifically, the defence raised the issues that:
- There were four individuals in the group and not three as per the dispatch;
- There was no one wearing a green striped shirt;
- There was no one wearing either all white or all black; and
- The group was located some blocks from where the robbery occurred.
“To allow the evidence here into evidence is to react to the nature of the evidence rather than to properly and completely consider the Charter violation. In view of the discussion on the Charter breach, allowing this evidence to be introduced effectively disregards the Charter protection afforded by s. 8 and the clear direction provided by Mann.
In all of the circumstances, I conclude the evidence of the machete should be excluded at the evidence of this trial pursuant to s. 24(2) of the Charter as its admission would tend to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”