R. v. L.P.
L.P.’s son hit a light pole on the way home from work late one night. A witness could not see who was driving but wrote down the plate number and called 911. The car, registered in the son’s name, was tracked to her home. When police arrived, L.P. told them she had been driving and lost control when she veered to avoid an animal. In a panic, she left the accident scene. (L.P. was concerned about the impact of a driving conviction on her son’s licence and car insurance.)
Suspicious, police cautioned her that it was a crime to lie to them about who was driving. They asked where her son was and she said he was out. They asked for his phone number, called it and heard a phone ring inside the house. They asked her if they could search the house. She said yes. Going room to room, they found a young man sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. Who’s that, police asked. She said it was her nephew.
Then she told the truth. That was her son and he was the driver. She was charged with obstruct police.
As L.P. was a teacher, a criminal conviction could have led to the loss of her job.
RESULT: After agreeing with me that before searching the house police should have told her that she could call a lawyer and that she did not have to consent to the search, and after she completed 40 hours of volunteer work, the Crown withdrew the charge.
Unlawfully in a Dwelling
R. v. V.B.
After a night of carousing at a bar, 19-year-old Ms. B. decided to walk home with one of her friends. Shortly after 3 am and very drunk, they passed a vacant house. The friend entered through the front door and urged her to follow. A sleepless neighbor alerted police. They were both charged with being unlawfully in a dwelling.
RESULT: I persuaded the Crown to withdraw the charge after Ms. B. completed alcohol abuse counseling and 30 hours of volunteer work.