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Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. R. v. Fearon, 2014 SCC 77

[1] The police have a common law power to search incident to a lawful arrest. Does this power permit the search of cell phones and similar devices found on the suspect? That is the main question raised by this appeal.

[2] Canadian courts have so far not provided a consistent answer. At least four approaches have emerged. The first is to hold that the power to search incident to arrest generally includes the power to search cell phones, provided that the search is truly incidental to the arrest: R. v. Giles, 2007 BCSC 1147 (CanLII); R. v. Otchere-Badu, 2010 ONSC 1059 (CanLII); Young v. Canada, 2010 CanLII 74003 (NL PC), 2010 CanLII 74003 (Nfld. Prov. Ct.); R. v. Howell, 2011 NSSC 284 (CanLII), 313 N.S.R. (2d) 4; R. v. Franko, 2012 ABQB 282 (CanLII), 541 A.R. 23; R. v. Cater, 2014 NSCA 74 (CanLII); R. v. D’Annunzio (2010), 224 C.R.R. (2d) 221 (Ont. S.C.J.). The second view is that “cursory” searches are permitted: R. v. Polius (2009), 224 C.R.R. (2d) 288 (Ont. S.C.J.). A third is that thorough “data-dump” searches are not permitted incident to arrest: R. v. Hiscoe, 2013 NSCA 48 (CanLII), 328 N.S.R. (2d) 381; R. v. Mann, 2014 BCCA 231 (CanLII), 310 C.C.C. (3d) 143. Finally, it has also been held that searches of cell phones incident to arrest are not permitted except in exigent circumstances, in which a “cursory” search is permissible: R. v. Liew, 2012 ONSC 1826 (CanLII). These divergent results underline both the difficulty of the question and the need for a more consistent approach.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Re Gauthier, 2017 ABQB 555

[23] As stated in the introduction to this decision, the purpose of this decision is not simply to document why Gauthier’s OPCA documents were rejected, but to provide reasons for why this Court, on its own motion and under its inherent jurisdiction, is restricting Gauthier’s access to the Alberta courts. This is not, in fact, the first time Gauthier has engaged in litigation activities that abuse the Court’s processes. He has been repeatedly warned that his attempts to litigate on the basis of certain pseudolegal concepts will be unsuccessful and then result in negative consequences.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R. v. Freer, 2017 ONCJ 623

[5] The investigating police constable barely commenced his testimony at trial about the speeding event of September 8, 2016 when the appellant made a lengthy submission of his “status information” – a sililoquacious[2] statement which occupies 5 pages of the trial proceeding transcript that ends perhaps with the rhetorical question by the appellant “Are you denying my rights?” The familiarity and intimacy of smaller jurisdictions has its own blessings and challenges depending on one’s perspective. In this case the presiding Justice of the Peace had, on some prior occasion, encountered the appellant in an earlier proceeding and fortunately was able to focus this case on its’ merits and avoid straying into irrelevant areas and black holes of irrational thought. He reminded the appellant about “the case out west” – no doubt referring to the well-known decision of Meads v. Meads 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII)[3] that the appellant appeared aware of. This case has been the subject of much judicial consideration and approval and is adopted also by this court.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Éditions Québec Amérique inc. c. Druide Informatique inc., 2017 QCCS 4092

[18] Québec Amérique soutient qu’aucune entente n’est intervenue, entre les parties, quant aux conditions de l’intégration de ses œuvres dans Le Visuel Nano, inséré dans Antidote HD, et Le Visuel intégré.

[19] Selon Québec Amérique, aucune licence n’a été consentie à Druide informatique autorisant l’utilisation de ses œuvres littéraires et artistiques dans les logiciels Antidote.

[20] Elle demande au Tribunal d’ordonner à Druide informatique de cesser immédiatement de reproduire, représenter, communiquer à distance, vendre et exploiter, de quelque manière, les œuvres littéraires et artistiques, et les logiciels, dont les droits d’auteur lui appartiennent, notamment dans les sections appelées Le Visuel Nano et Le Visuel Intégré des éditions subséquentes d’Antidote HD, soit Antidote 8 et 9.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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