Keith Fraser reports that the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned a conviction based on an unreasonable search and seizure. Reading the description, I doubt that the courts here would have ruled the search unreasonable and excluded the evidence, but see what you think. Here’s the part of Fraser’s report that summarizes the RMCP’s rationale for the search. Keep in mind that it starts with the driver being pulled over as part of a random traffic stop:
An officer identified by the appeal court only as Sgt. Smith decided to deploy police dog Otis to conduct a walk-around sniff search of the vehicle.
The cop noted six things that he felt were proper grounds for the search. The vehicle was a newer-model Volvo owned by a third party, Payette was the lone occupant and was unshaven and wearing a dark hoodie.
The vehicle had debris inside, including water and coffee containers, and on the passenger side appeared to be lived in. There were Tim Hortons food wrappers indicating Payette was using drive-thru eateries.
Finally, Payette was pale and his head was shaking and there was a radar detector in the vehicle.
After the dog indicated there were drugs in the vehicle, a police search uncovered the narcotics in a suitcase in the trunk.
The driver was convicted and appealed the conviction. The conviction was overturned on appeal when the judge held that the search was not reasonable.
Read more in The Province.
What do you think? Would the evidence have gotten excluded here or would the court have put its stamp of approval on the search?
(headline corrected to read “unreasonable”)