SCC Case Information
Her Majesty the Queen v. A. M.
(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)
(Publication ban in case) (Publication ban on party)
Canadian charter - criminal - Seizure.
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Charter of Rights (Criminal) — Search and Seizure — Sniffer Dog — Search of school — Whether A.M.'s rights under s. 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms breached — Whether evidence properly excluded at A.M.'s trial for possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking.
The police accepted a long-standing invitation to bring sniffer dogs into A.M.'s high school to search for drugs. The police had no knowledge that drugs were present in the school and would not have been able to obtain a warrant to search the school. The sniffer dog was trained to detect marihuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine. The police searched the whole school while the students were confined to their classrooms. In a gymnasium, they found a pile of backpacks but no students. The sniffer dog reacted to A.M.'s backpack. Without obtaining a warrant, the police opened the backpack and found marihuana and magic mushrooms. A.M. was charged with possession of cannabis marihuana and psilocybin for the purpose of trafficking. At trial, he challenged the admissibility of the evidence. The drugs were subsequently excluded and the charges against A.M. dismissed. A unanimous Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge's ruling.