Police can’t arbitrarily stop drivers on private property, Supreme Court says
The Crown appealed the acquittal, but in 2021 a majority in Ontario’s highest court also found the obstruction was a serious breach of the charter.
“At home, the person does not expect police to walk into their driveway and arbitrarily arrest them without suspected wrongdoing or particular safety concerns,” wrote Justice Michael Tulloch, now Ontario Chief Justice.
In a sharply worded dissent, Judge C. William Hourigan chided his peers for sanctioning a dangerous escape route for drunk drivers.
“As long as the driver puts their vehicle on a roadh of private property, protection applies, and they are homeless.”
The Supreme Court did not share his concern and called the “sanctuary problem” exaggerated.
“This ruling does not constitute a blanket ban on police checks on private property,” the court wrote. “Various factual scenarios could give rise to reasonable and probable reasons.”
So the message to drunk drivers? Your driveway is your sanctuary from random sobriety tests, but you’re not completely free from home.
“Your own apartment and the property on which you are located would offer you protection against police intervention,” says criminal defense lawyer Joseph Neuberger, “but this only applies if the police have no reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. “
https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/mandel-police-cant-do-random-sobriety-tests-on-private-property-top-court-rules Police can’t arbitrarily stop drivers on private property, Supreme Court says