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Case Law Library

[most of the cases on this page can be found on canlii.org and we can link directly to that page.  A few cannot, so we could link to a pdf.  I’ve noted the cases that are not on canlii.org]

If you sue the police you will need legal cases to support your claim.  Here are some important cases that can help.  You can find most of these cases and more at canlii.org.  We will do our best to keep these case law resources up to date.

 

False Arrest

– Hanisch v. Canada, 2004 BCCA 539

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1j0md
  • In this case, the BC Court of Appeal upheld a trial decision awarding the plaintiff $25,000 in compensatory damages for false arrest. The court was sympathetic to the plaintiff who ran a guide business in a small and isolated community. Reputation was important and the plaintiff was arrested and humiliated in front of clients and neighbours (see paragraphs 144 – 148 in the lower court decision Hanisch v. Canada, 2003 BCSC 1000 (CanLII)).  The plaintiff is also awarded significant punitive damages for the malicious conduct of police.  This is a good case to support a high damage award.  The plaintiff was in custody for only a few hours (see paragraph 57 of the lower court decision), but he was not able to return home for 3 days.

 

– Trudgian v. Wood, 2005 SKCA 13

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1jrv2
  • This is a good case for damages. This case was heard by a lower court in Saskatchewan (see that case on Canlii – Trudgian v. Bosche, 2003 SKQB 168 (CanLII)).  A cadet was wrongfully charged with sexual assault.  The officer did almost no investigation before laying the charge.  The charge of sexual assault carries significant stigma and had considerable effect on the plaintiff.  The court awarded $50,000 and stated the following at paragraph 156: “I accept the plaintiff’s evidence that it was the most horrible time of his life and that he suffered humiliation and damage to his reputation which persists to the present, with mental anguish and stress continuing to haunt him.  The plaintiff’s ordeal was also particularly damaging to his reputation as a corrections officer, and delayed his re-entry into the corrections service and advancement within the service.  As well, it has affected his relationship with colleagues and with police officers with whom he deals on a daily basis.  He is fearful of inmates gaining knowledge of the charge.  The plaintiff also suffered some loss of liberty and confinement, less than one day.”  On appeal the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal reduced the award to $30,000.  At paragraph 18, the appeal court stated “In this case, despite requests to the contrary and what the trial judge found to be a lack of necessity, the appellant arrested the respondent immediately, refusing to let him put on civilian clothes and removed him, in the view of his troop, in handcuffs.  The respondent, a former and present correctional officer, had never been incarcerated and said he was, and the trial judge accepted this, traumatized.  Further, he experienced difficulties with respect to regaining and being promoted within his current employment.  This merits an award of substantial damages, albeit not to the extent the trial judge gave.  Based on the jurisprudence and our view that the trial judge considered erroneous factors in exceeding the normal range, we reduce the general damages from $50,000 to $30,000.”

 

– Radovici v. Toronto Police Services Board, [2007] 86 O.R. (3d) 691 (ONSC)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1s0t3
  • This case may be used to suggest that a night spent at a police station after a false arrest is worth about $7,500. Ms. Radovici was falsely arrested during a dispute with a police officer in the Entertainment District in downtown Toronto.  She spent approximately 5 hours in police custody.  She was not strip searched.  A Superior Court Justice found that she was falsely arrested.  This case, it could be argued, is the starting point for damages for false arrest.  Other cases that support higher awards include Trudgian v. Wood, 2005 SKCA 13 (CanLII) and Hanisch v. Canada, 2004 BCCA 539 (CanLII).  In these cases, appeal courts in Saskatchewan and BC awarded $30,000 and $25,000 respectively.

 

– R. v. Storrey, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 241

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1fsxl
  • This Supreme Court case outlines the legal test for false arrest. This is a criminal case, but the test has been applied in many civil cases.  A police officer must have reasonable grounds to make an arrest pursuant to the Criminal Code.  An arrest must be reasonable based on the subjective view of the officer and on the objective view of a reasonable person (i.e. the judge).

 

 

Intoxication

– R. v. Hagarty, 2005 ONCJ 317

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1m7dk
  • This case is useful because it summarizes the case law and outlines the legal test for a lawful arrest for public intoxication made under the Liquor Licence Act.

– R. v. Wise, [2003] O.J. No. 1317 [[link to pdf]]

– R. v. Proulx, [1988] O.J. No. 890 [link to pdf]]

– R. v. Giri, [2001] O.J. No. 3307 [link to pdf]

 

Negligence

– Doe v. Metropolitan Toronto (Municipality) Commissioners of Police, 1998 CanLII 14826 (ONSC)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1w9kn
  • Jane Doe was raped after Toronto police failed to warn her that a serial rapist, later known as the “balcony rapist,” was targeting women in a specific neighbourhood. This is a precedent setting case for two reasons.  Firstly, the court found that police breached Jane Doe’s section 15 Charter rights and discriminated against her based on gender.  Police did not act in accordance with their statutory duty to protect the public from criminal activity, and they carried out their duty in a manner that discriminated based on gender.  The court stated that police “adopted a policy not to warn her because of a stereotypical discriminatory belief that as a woman she and others like her would become hysterical and panic and scare off an attacker, among others,” (paragraph 192). Secondly, the court held that the liability of the police can extend to victims of crime.  In this case, police failed in their duty of care to protect Jane Doe.  Police “were aware of a specific threat or risk to a specific group of women [including Jane Doe] and they did nothing to warn those women of the danger they were in, nor did they take any measures to protect them,” (paragraph 162).  Although this was a lower court decision, the essential findings of the case have been upheld by higher courts including the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Hill v Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board (paragraphs 125-135).

 

– Hill v. Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 129, 2007 SCC 41

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1t3lv
  • This Supreme Court case established that police across Canada can be sued for negligent investigation. Prior to this decision, some provinces had not allowed actions against police for negligence.  Police conduct during an investigation should be measured against the standard of how a reasonable officer in like circumstances would have acted.  The standard of care of a reasonable police officer in similar circumstances should be applied in a manner that gives due recognition to the discretion inherent in police investigation.  This standard is flexible, covers all aspects of investigatory police work, and is reinforced by the nature and importance of police investigation.  In this case, considering police practices at the time, police were found to have met the standard of a reasonable officer in similar circumstances.

 

 

Providing Identification (ID)

Moore v. The Queen, [1979] 1 SCR 195, 1978 CanLII 160 (SCC)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1z76c
  • This Supreme Court case supports the legal principle that a person does not generally have to provide ID to the police. A person must show ID only when required by law.  In this case, Mr. Moore was required to show ID because police had reasonable grounds to issue him a traffic ticket.  He was found guilty of obstructing police.

 

– R. v. Honoroski, 2003 ABPC 100 (CanLII)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/57jz
  • This Alberta case supports the principle that there is no general obligation to provide ID to police. A person must identify themselves only when required by law.  See the court’s analysis at paragraphs 22 to 33.  The court cited the 1966 case of Rice v. Connelly, “every citizen has a moral duty or, if you like, a social duty to assist the police, there is no legal duty to that effect and indeed the whole basis of the common law is that right of the individual to refuse to answer questions put to him by persons in authority, and a refusal to accompany those in authority to any particular place short, of course, of arrest.”

Note: Mobile Version is Below and Desktop Version is Above.

Case Law Library

[most of the cases on this page can be found on canlii.org and we can link directly to that page.  A few cannot, so we could link to a pdf.  I’ve noted the cases that are not on canlii.org]

If you sue the police you will need legal cases to support your claim.  Here are some important cases that can help.  You can find most of these cases and more at canlii.org.  We will do our best to keep these case law resources up to date.

 

False Arrest

– Hanisch v. Canada, 2004 BCCA 539

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1j0md
  • In this case, the BC Court of Appeal upheld a trial decision awarding the plaintiff $25,000 in compensatory damages for false arrest. The court was sympathetic to the plaintiff who ran a guide business in a small and isolated community. Reputation was important and the plaintiff was arrested and humiliated in front of clients and neighbours (see paragraphs 144 – 148 in the lower court decision Hanisch v. Canada, 2003 BCSC 1000 (CanLII)).  The plaintiff is also awarded significant punitive damages for the malicious conduct of police.  This is a good case to support a high damage award.  The plaintiff was in custody for only a few hours (see paragraph 57 of the lower court decision), but he was not able to return home for 3 days.

 

– Trudgian v. Wood, 2005 SKCA 13

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1jrv2
  • This is a good case for damages. This case was heard by a lower court in Saskatchewan (see that case on Canlii – Trudgian v. Bosche, 2003 SKQB 168 (CanLII)).  A cadet was wrongfully charged with sexual assault.  The officer did almost no investigation before laying the charge.  The charge of sexual assault carries significant stigma and had considerable effect on the plaintiff.  The court awarded $50,000 and stated the following at paragraph 156: “I accept the plaintiff’s evidence that it was the most horrible time of his life and that he suffered humiliation and damage to his reputation which persists to the present, with mental anguish and stress continuing to haunt him.  The plaintiff’s ordeal was also particularly damaging to his reputation as a corrections officer, and delayed his re-entry into the corrections service and advancement within the service.  As well, it has affected his relationship with colleagues and with police officers with whom he deals on a daily basis.  He is fearful of inmates gaining knowledge of the charge.  The plaintiff also suffered some loss of liberty and confinement, less than one day.”  On appeal the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal reduced the award to $30,000.  At paragraph 18, the appeal court stated “In this case, despite requests to the contrary and what the trial judge found to be a lack of necessity, the appellant arrested the respondent immediately, refusing to let him put on civilian clothes and removed him, in the view of his troop, in handcuffs.  The respondent, a former and present correctional officer, had never been incarcerated and said he was, and the trial judge accepted this, traumatized.  Further, he experienced difficulties with respect to regaining and being promoted within his current employment.  This merits an award of substantial damages, albeit not to the extent the trial judge gave.  Based on the jurisprudence and our view that the trial judge considered erroneous factors in exceeding the normal range, we reduce the general damages from $50,000 to $30,000.”

 

– Radovici v. Toronto Police Services Board, [2007] 86 O.R. (3d) 691 (ONSC)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1s0t3
  • This case may be used to suggest that a night spent at a police station after a false arrest is worth about $7,500. Ms. Radovici was falsely arrested during a dispute with a police officer in the Entertainment District in downtown Toronto.  She spent approximately 5 hours in police custody.  She was not strip searched.  A Superior Court Justice found that she was falsely arrested.  This case, it could be argued, is the starting point for damages for false arrest.  Other cases that support higher awards include Trudgian v. Wood, 2005 SKCA 13 (CanLII) and Hanisch v. Canada, 2004 BCCA 539 (CanLII).  In these cases, appeal courts in Saskatchewan and BC awarded $30,000 and $25,000 respectively.

 

– R. v. Storrey, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 241

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1fsxl
  • This Supreme Court case outlines the legal test for false arrest. This is a criminal case, but the test has been applied in many civil cases.  A police officer must have reasonable grounds to make an arrest pursuant to the Criminal Code.  An arrest must be reasonable based on the subjective view of the officer and on the objective view of a reasonable person (i.e. the judge).

 

 

Intoxication

– R. v. Hagarty, 2005 ONCJ 317

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1m7dk
  • This case is useful because it summarizes the case law and outlines the legal test for a lawful arrest for public intoxication made under the Liquor Licence Act.

– R. v. Wise, [2003] O.J. No. 1317 [[link to pdf]]

– R. v. Proulx, [1988] O.J. No. 890 [link to pdf]]

– R. v. Giri, [2001] O.J. No. 3307 [link to pdf]

 

Negligence

– Doe v. Metropolitan Toronto (Municipality) Commissioners of Police, 1998 CanLII 14826 (ONSC)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1w9kn
  • Jane Doe was raped after Toronto police failed to warn her that a serial rapist, later known as the “balcony rapist,” was targeting women in a specific neighbourhood. This is a precedent setting case for two reasons.  Firstly, the court found that police breached Jane Doe’s section 15 Charter rights and discriminated against her based on gender.  Police did not act in accordance with their statutory duty to protect the public from criminal activity, and they carried out their duty in a manner that discriminated based on gender.  The court stated that police “adopted a policy not to warn her because of a stereotypical discriminatory belief that as a woman she and others like her would become hysterical and panic and scare off an attacker, among others,” (paragraph 192). Secondly, the court held that the liability of the police can extend to victims of crime.  In this case, police failed in their duty of care to protect Jane Doe.  Police “were aware of a specific threat or risk to a specific group of women [including Jane Doe] and they did nothing to warn those women of the danger they were in, nor did they take any measures to protect them,” (paragraph 162).  Although this was a lower court decision, the essential findings of the case have been upheld by higher courts including the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Hill v Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board (paragraphs 125-135).

 

– Hill v. Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 129, 2007 SCC 41

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1t3lv
  • This Supreme Court case established that police across Canada can be sued for negligent investigation. Prior to this decision, some provinces had not allowed actions against police for negligence.  Police conduct during an investigation should be measured against the standard of how a reasonable officer in like circumstances would have acted.  The standard of care of a reasonable police officer in similar circumstances should be applied in a manner that gives due recognition to the discretion inherent in police investigation.  This standard is flexible, covers all aspects of investigatory police work, and is reinforced by the nature and importance of police investigation.  In this case, considering police practices at the time, police were found to have met the standard of a reasonable officer in similar circumstances.

 

 

Providing Identification (ID)

Moore v. The Queen, [1979] 1 SCR 195, 1978 CanLII 160 (SCC)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/1z76c
  • This Supreme Court case supports the legal principle that a person does not generally have to provide ID to the police. A person must show ID only when required by law.  In this case, Mr. Moore was required to show ID because police had reasonable grounds to issue him a traffic ticket.  He was found guilty of obstructing police.

 

– R. v. Honoroski, 2003 ABPC 100 (CanLII)

  • Reference Link: http://canlii.ca/t/57jz
  • This Alberta case supports the principle that there is no general obligation to provide ID to police. A person must identify themselves only when required by law.  See the court’s analysis at paragraphs 22 to 33.  The court cited the 1966 case of Rice v. Connelly, “every citizen has a moral duty or, if you like, a social duty to assist the police, there is no legal duty to that effect and indeed the whole basis of the common law is that right of the individual to refuse to answer questions put to him by persons in authority, and a refusal to accompany those in authority to any particular place short, of course, of arrest.”