CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES - Protection against arbitrary detention or imprisonment - Protection against unreasonable search and seizure

Law360 Canada (December 1, 2023, 12:28 PM EST) -- Appeal by Zacharias of a judgment of the Alberta Court of Appeal that dismissed his appeal from a conviction of possession of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking. Constable MacPhail conducted a lawful traffic stop of Zacharias’ truck. Believing he had reasonable grounds to suspect illegal drug activity, Constable MacPhail called for a backup and sniffer dog. Zacharias was placed under investigative detention. Since the sniffer dog indicated the presence of a controlled substance, Constable MacPhail arrested Zacharias for possession of a controlled substance. Following searches of Zacharias’ vehicle incident to arrest, 101.5 lbs of cannabis were found. Zacharias was re-arrested for possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was arrested for a third time at the police station. The trial judge found that the initial investigative detention and the sniffer dog search were unlawful and breached Zacharias’ Charter rights. However, she determined the evidence should not be excluded under s. 24(2) of the Charter. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and declined to consider Zacharias’ arguments regarding the additional breaches that were neither included in his Charter notice nor argued at trial as they were new issues. Zacharias has now asked the Court to consider these new issues while the Crown argued that they should not be addressed....
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