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Supreme Court to review cocaine acquittal over questionable sniffer dog

A Nova Scotia man, who allegedly landed at a Halifax airport with a suitcase full of cocaine, will get the chance to argue at the Supreme Court of Canada that a new trial to potentially overturn an acquittal in this matter is unjust, partly because a sniffer dog named Boris can't be trusted. ( Plus d'info...

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Jon Braun 1
Yeah, our Charter is pretty strong in Canada. It seems he was arrested first. It wasn't like they grabbed his bag opened it without consent then arrested him. But... we have to go back to the beginning, was there reasonable grounds to arrest him in the first place. I dunno, seems kinda dodgy that police could come on to a plane and pick one person to make an example of just based on a profile, we have to forget the crime here unfortunately when dealing with this case, now.
Tom Kearney 1
For anyone interested, the full details of the case are here:
Chris Bryant 1
While I don't agree with the original judge's decisions (in the US that search would be considered reasonable), I don't understand Canadian law at all. In the US, they couldn't appeal an acquittal. That would be double jeopardy.
We have cases thrown out of the courts all the time on vague technicalities. We can't simply correct those technicalities and bring the person up on the exact same charge resulting from the same incident. We can, however, go after them again on another incident. The RCMP should be up this guy's six day and night.
Tom Kearney 1
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has a double jeopardy clause with this exception. An appeal of an acquittal may occur if the appeal is based on whether the judge made an error in applying the law and that this error contributed to the acquittal.
Tom Kearney 1
So it's not really the dog, Boris, that's questionable but rather how the original trial judge interpreted how questionable the questionable Boris was, even though you can't really question Boris because, doggonit, he's just a dog.
BlueLiner 1
RPG or reasonable and probable grounds to search for narcotics in the bag were determined by the sniffer dog. The RPG to search that particular bag were determined by factors or indicators that have been noted in past detections/arrests/convictions based on the profile of the individual(s) involved. Typically referred to as well… “profiling”. Police wait until the bag is claimed and place the owner under arrest. I would suggest that the error in law that is being challenged is not really Boris’ nose but the “un-random” nature of the determination of whose or which bags to search. The Supreme Court will test whether the “profiling” in the first part was a violation of the rights of the individual versus the best interest/safety of the public as a whole. This is similar to the way that the detection, detention of suspected drunk drivers and administration of sobriety tests/breathalyzer is considered to be a reasonable suspension of those rights to ensure the safety of the travelling public. I do not know whether Boris’ alert/no-alert really forms part of the violation of rights as it could be argued that if they had chosen to do so the police could have had Boris check every bag on the flight and ultimately alerted on only those two luggage items anyway thereby forming the same RPG for the search. The Supreme Court may visit this – but I am not sure.

At the stage of the “detention” no charter rights need be read except that the individual(s) be informed he/she/they is/are detained for the purposes of an investigation (drugs, DUI, murder etc.). Once the element(s) for a violation/charge is determined under a respective Act or statute then the alleged offender must be afforded their constitutional rights as that is the point where the person’s freedom is truly curtailed. And by the way a police officer can “unarrest” a suspect as fast as he or she “arrested” them once the RPG have been established to be without basis.

As for the other conveyance sniffed by Boris and his false alert on the “cooler” (no drugs found) , this has no bearing on the case – simple proximity with the bag that contained the narcotics can result in a false alert – contact high if you will…
Torsten Hoff 1
Sounds like Boris did his job just fine. I hope the challenge gets thrown out.

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