Laptop Seizure – Acquittal – Illegal Search

Here the accused was found near a firehall in the Sorrento area at night. Police had attended the firehall to check the truck to determine its registration that it was not stolen and to determine the sobriety of the driver. When the police approached the truck, the driver continued for 50 meters before they stopped. The police executed a high-risk takedown of the accused who was a senior. No weapons were found on the accused and the accused was searched and it was concluded that he had some hard liquor. He was arrested by the police on obstruction of the police. He registered a fail on the ASD. One of the police officers located a laptop computer on the passenger seat and said that he saw the screen of a laptop open. The officer scrolled through the computer and saw what he believed to be child pornography.

Defence Action
The defence argued that the accused had been arbitrarily detained. The search of the vehicle had been unreasonable. The search of the laptop was unreasonable.

Decision
The Supreme Court trial judge found that the driver was arbitrarily detained. The search of his vehicle was unlawful. The search of the laptop screen was unlawful. In the event that the results of the laptop search were considered to be inadmissible as evidence in the trial and further that the statements subsequently given by the accused to the police after the search of the laptop were also unlawful and excluded from evidence.

R. vs G 2016 BC Supreme Court 756 Docket 22776-2 Salmon Arm Registry.