SCC Case Information
Mandeep Singh Chehil v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Nova Scotia) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Canadian charter - criminal - Search and seizure (s. 8).
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 law Search and seizure Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure Sniff search of suitcase by sniffer dog led to discovery of drugs Whether police conduct violated s. 8 of the Charter Whether the evidence should have been excluded pursuant to s. 24(2) of the Charter.
The appellant, Mr. Chehil, was travelling by plane from Vancouver to Halifax. His travel patterns raised the suspicion of the police. When Mr. Chehil arrived, the police deployed a sniffer dog to smell his suitcase. The dog identified the suitcase, as well as a cooler immediately next to the suitcase, as containing narcotics. Mr. Chehil was arrested, his suitcase was searched and a large quantity of cocaine was discovered. The cooler was also searched but did not contain drugs. The trial judge held that the search violated Mr. Chehil’s Charter rights. He concluded that the specific facts of the case did not meet the “reasonable suspicion” standard for deploying a drug sniffer dog, and that even if the use of the dog was Charter compliant, the dog’s incorrect indication of drugs in the cooler undermined his reliability such that his positive indication of drugs in the suitcase did not give rise to reasonable grounds to believe the suitcase contained drugs. The drugs were excluded, resulting in an acquittal. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial.