Keeping 'Reasonable Grounds' Meaningful

Steve Coughlan

Abstract


Two recent Court of Appeal cases (R. v. Jir and R. v. Bush, both reported ante, pp. 53 and 29) are examples of tendencies in some recent decisions to weaken the "reasonable grounds" standard for arrest. That the reasonable grounds standard for arrest is important is beyond question. As the Supreme Court of Canada has said,

Without such an important standard, even the most democratic society could all too easily fall prey to the abuses and excesses of a police state.

In subtle and sometimes unintentional ways, however, the reasonable ground standard is being undermined. This short article will examine two ways in which this can be seen: in the approach to what level of certainty the standard entails, and in the approach to how the objective aspect of the standard can be proven. Both Jir and Bush are relevant to each of these issues.

Keywords


Criminal Law

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