Obstructing police conviction tossed

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights.

Obstructing police conviction tossed

Postby Thomas » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:48 pm

OWEN SOUND - A Superior Court justice found a Bruce Peninsula OPP officer responding to a domestic 911 call in 2011 went beyond his authority by forcing his way into a house to check on a woman's safety despite having no evidence she was in peril.

The decision by Justice Casey Hill was on an appeal of obstructing and assaulting police convictions in Owen Sound court last year.

The March 13 decision said there are exceptional, limited circumstances which allow officers to enter private dwellings without a warrant or consent - to prevent a crime under the Criminal Code or, under common law, which states "intrusion must be limited to the protection of life and safety."

The Crown will not appeal Hill's decision, Grey County Crown attorney Michael Martin said.

Max Wilhelm, a 68-year-old retired banker who lives in Oliphant, was convicted March 7, 2013, of resisting or obstructing police after a trial before Justice Julia Morneau, who fined him $100 on each count.

Morneau found because police were acting in the lawful execution of their duties, Wilhelm had no viable defence to his use of force to stop police from entering his home one night in 2011.

But Hill found not every 911 call justifies police forcing their way inside a private home as happened on Aug. 11, 2011.

Police must investigate the circumstances first, not "use of the 'domestic' label to . . . overrun constitutional rights," the judge wrote in his 68-page decision.

Hill's summary of the facts included that Wilhelm's special-needs daughter complained to a neighbour the girl's intoxicated mother had struck her on her back.

The neighbour saw no mark but tried to talk with the mother and was rebuffed. Later, she heard the mother yelling at the daughter.

The daughter left the house and asked the neighbour to call police.

The kerfuffle woke Max Wilhelm from his nap.

The neighbour called police at 10:59 p.m., reported a "domestic dispute" next door, that the distraught daughter reported her mother had "tried to hit her," but that the husband had been awakened and "they're laughing right now."

Bruce Peninsula OPP Const. Bryan Boshold responded to the 911 call, as did two other officers.

Boshold testified he arrived unsure exactly what was happening. He knew there had been a 911 call, there had been shouting and arguing, alcohol was involved.

Boshold found people were calm and that Max Wilhelm told him he'd been asleep and everything was under control now.

The judge found Boshold should reasonably have also known the neighbour's report of a "domestic" was misleading in that it may have suggested Max and Maryanne Wilhelm were fighting and no one had reported the intoxicated woman was injured or needed protection.

But Boshold suspected Wilhelm may have assaulted his wife and demanded entry to their home to check on her.

He told Max Wilhelm he'd stay outside if Wilhelm fetched his wife, then put his foot over the threshold as the door was closing. Wilhelm tried to push Boshold, who had entered the home, back out.

Hill found "there were no grounds objectively justifying a belief . . . Maryanne Wilhelm was in urgent need of protection or assistance."

Hill described Boshold as "undoubtedly well-intentioned," but that he also breached his own deal with Wilhelm.

In such circumstances, "the homeowner is surely entitled to employ reasonable force to restore the status quo of removing the police from the dwelling," the judgment said.

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2014/0 ... ion-tossed
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Re: Obstructing police conviction tossed

Postby Thomas » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:22 pm

This is by far not a single instance of violating Charter rights by OPP officers, who by the way are never taught to respect them by their respective service. I am glad to learn that people are fighting for their rights. It is too sad though that police officers are not held accountable for violating the very laws they must uphold and that ordinary people use their personal time and resources to fight wrong and unlawful charges.
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