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Police Investigations

Upon witnessing an event or receiving information regarding a potential criminal act, police will embark upon an investigation. Essentially, police investigations are where police gather evidence to determine if their suspect is chargeable with a criminal offence.

What happens when you become the subject of a police investigation?

We are criminal defence lawyers with over 30 years of experience, skilled in steering our clients through police investigations from beginning to end. Our goal is clear and simple: to preserve your rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent;
  • The right to obtain legal advice upon detention or arrest;
  • The right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure;
  • The right not to be detained or arrested arbitrarily;
  • The right to be treated by police in a fair and non-oppressive manner, including, in appropriate situations, the right to a translator or medical assistance before speaking to police.

Your Right to Remain Silent

The right to remain silent is fundamental to Canadian law. Our law dictates that is it up to the state (the police and Crown counsel) to prove crimes against an accused person. The accused has no obligation, except in very limited circumstances, to cooperate with the police whatsoever. We certainly understand that when people are confronted by police as a suspect in a criminal investigation that the vast majority of people feel intimidated and powerless. If you are under police investigation for any offence, contact us. We can act as a “buffer” between you and the police. We can communicate to the investigators on your behalf without putting you at risk of incriminating yourself. We will help you enforce your right to remain silent and your rights against self-incrimination that are guaranteed by the Charter.

Recent Successes

R. v. S.C. – Vancouver Police Investigation

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was credible evidence that would meet the charge approval standard.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information to the investigating officer that led the investigator to conclude that our client was not chargeable with a criminal offence. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. C.K. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Assault; Forcible Confinement (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our through, whether it was in the public interest for our client to be sentenced to a criminal record.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown to proceed only on the assault charge and, after hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R.M. vs. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles

Charge: 90 Day Immediate Roadside prohibition.
Issue: Whether the police report established, on balance, that our client had refused to provide a breath sample during a roadside impaired driving investigation.
Result: The adjudicator agreed with Mr. Mines' submissions that our client's evidence was more reliable than the evidence set out in the Police Report to the Superintendent. The 90 day driving prohibition was overturned and our client was ruled eligible to resume driving.

R. vs. E.W. – Fort Nelson Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a criminal conviction.
Result: Upon reviewing the allegations, Mr. Mines made representations to Crown counsel resulting in Crown agreeing that there was no reasonable prospect of convicting our client. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. H.K. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault Peace Officer; Mischief Under $5000.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with criminal charges.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to  persuade Crown counsel to allow our client into the Alternative Measures Program and to enter a stay of proceedings on both charges upon our client completing the program. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.S. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (from weapons charge).
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the prosecution of our client who had failed to complete a course of court ordered counselling.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to steer our client through an equivalent course of counselling. Upon completion, Crown counsel stayed the proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.P. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Mischief Causing Danger to Life.
Issue: Given the medical evidence Mr. Gauthier provided to Crown counsel, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.A. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Breaking & Entering; Unlawful Confinement; Assault.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for the prosecution to continue against our client, a U.S. citizen who was in Canada on a visitor's visa.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings on all charges upon our client agreeing to a Deportation Order. No criminal record.

R. vs. P.N. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Dangerous Driving Causing Death. Issue: Whether Crown could prove that our client had the necessary intent to prove that she was guilty of the criminal charge. Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed under the Motor Vehicle Act rather than the Criminal Code. After hearing Mr. Mines'  submissions, the Court sentenced our client to 60 days to be served on weekends. The Crown had originally sought a sentence in the range of 2 years.

R. vs. L.A. – New Westminster Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (from domestic assault charge).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to prosecute our client for failing to report and complete counselling.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to guide our client back onto an alternative course of rehabilitation and persuaded Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. M.K. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Uttering Threats; Extortion.
Issue: Given the age of the charges and the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether a jail sentence was appropriate.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to seek a non custodial sentence. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a suspended sentence and placed him on probation for 16 months. No jail.

R. vs. K.A. – Western Communities Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issues: Given the information we provided to Crown counsel regarding the complainant's past unlawful behaviour toward our client, whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: As a result of the information we provided, Crown counsel withdrew the charge. No further bail restrictions. No criminal record.

Can you avoid being arrested or held in police custody?

The Criminal Code provides police and Crown a wide measure of discretion in deciding whether to arrest or whether to seek an accused’s detention prior to trial. For example, s. 496 allows an officer to, rather than arrest a suspect, issue an appearance notice, directing the suspect to attend court on a future date. Similarly, s. 497 and s. 498 allow a police officer to release an arrested person by issuing an appearance notice or summons to court. Even where the suspect is arrested on a warrant, s. 499 allows police to release a suspect on a promise to appear or on an undertaking with protective conditions such as orders of “no contact,” “non-attendance,” or various types of prohibitions for items such as weapons, communication devices or other items.

When clients under investigation contact us early enough, we will endeavor to persuade police to not arrest our client at all, or to promptly release them on the least restrictive conditions possible. To succeed in these representations, we must establish that, in the circumstances, it is not necessary to hold our client in custody, including the need to:

  • Establish our client’s identity;
  • Secure or preserve evidence relating to the alleged offence;
  • Prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence or another offence; or
  • To ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence.

Representing Clients under Investigation

Whether you are suspected of theft, assault, a driving offence, a drug offence or a serious crime, the police will undoubtedly want to speak with you, to “hear your side of the story.” Before speaking to police, you should understand that, under the Charter, you are not obliged to do so. Under Canadian law, your silence cannot be used later in court to infer that you must have something to hide. Over the years we’ve had many successful cases because our client was able to properly exercise their right to remain silent. Before speaking to the police, call us.

Start with a free consultation.

If you are being investigated by police or if you’ve been charged with a criminal or driving offence, don’t face the problem alone. Being accused of an offence is stressful. The prospects of a criminal record or jail sentence can be daunting. Even if you think there is no defence, we may be able to help. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Vancouver lawyers, contact us now.