exclusion of evidence debate * rv collins [1987] 1 scr 265 (scc)

[1987] 1 S.C.R. 265 (S.C.C.)
Amy Bui
Canadian and International Law
- Ruby Collins has sometimes been put
under surveillance by the R.C.M.P drug
squad. One day, an officer approached her
in a pub, took her by the throat (to prevent
her from swallowing drugs that may have
been contained in a condom or balloon),
and puller her to the floor. While grabbing
her throat, the officer announced that he
was a police officer. The officer did find a
balloon of heroin in Collins’ hand.
-Did the police’s grabbing
Collins’ throat bring the
administration of justice into disrepute?
- Should the evidence found be excluded?
- Did the search of Collins violated section 8 of the
Charter of Freedom and Rights?
•The search was invalid and offended the section 8 (from The Charter of
Freedom and Rights) guarantee of the right to be free from arbitrary search
and seizure. => Ruby Collins’ rights were denied.
•The officer had no reasonable grounds for believing that Collins had
drugs in her mouth.
• The police had no warrant.
• The police grabbed Ruby’s throat without properly informing. => Ruby
was not respected.
• The search of the police made Ruby disrespect the justice system => the
evidence they found can’t be used with respect to section 24(2).
• It would bring disrepute to the justice system if the evidence found is
used in court.
• The police officer was merely doing his job: he was preventing
residents from using drugs.
• Actions must be taken to provide safety and order to the society.
• If the police should act accordingly to the warrant under any
circumstances, it would bring bureaucracy to this police office
system => they won’t be able to stop crimes.
• The search was necessary for him to find out whether she was using
drugs or not.
• Ruby Collins had been put under surveillance for sometimes =>
there were some reasonable grounds for the police to believe there
was a high possibility that Ruby Collins would use drugs again.
• If he was soft on Ruby, it would send a message to everyone that
they can use drugs without fearing anything.
• It would bring a worse disrepute to the justice system if the
evidence found is not used in court.
- The court finds in favour of Ruby Collins.
- The Court ruled that the evidence should have
been excluded on the trial record as it stood and
ordered a new trial, even though the offence was
a serious one for which, if obtained on the basis
of mere suspicion, flagrantly and seriously
violated the accused’s rights. The Court must
disassociate itself from this unlawful conduct on
the part of the police. To sanction such conduct
would more seriously harm the reputation of the
justice system than to risk the acquittal of the
accused at a new trial.

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