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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. vs. M.P. - ICBC insurance fraud investigation.

Charge: Insurance fraud.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to steer our client through the investigation by helping our client rectify the fraudulent information that he had provided to I.C.B.C. No charges approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.B. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm; Assault Police Officer.
Issue: Given our client's severe mental health issues, whether he was criminally responsible for the offences.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide information about our client's mental health history to Crown counsel and, ultimately, was able to persuade Crown to end the prosecution. Stay of proceedings. No jail. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.H. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Mischief Under $5000.,br> Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information about our client to Crown counsel and was able to persuade Crown that there was no public interest in prosecuting this matter. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.C. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Mischief Under $5000.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information about our client to Crown counsel and was able to persuade Crown that there was no public interest in prosecuting this matter. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. W.F. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether this road rage incident was a criminal offence or a consensual fight.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to present Crown counsel with video evidence which confirmed that the complainant had engaged in a consensual altercation. Stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. K.Y. - Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether the 18 month jail sentence Crown had sought was reasonable in all the circumstances.
Result: Mr. Johnson provided information to the Crown and Court and ultimately persuaded the trial judge to sentence our client to a 7 month conditional sentence , followed ny 18 months probation. No jail.

R. vs. G.W. - North Vancouver RCMP Investigation

Charge: Assault with a weapon.
Issue: Whether there was sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able collect information from a defence witness and represent to police that our client should not  be prosecuted. Police concluded their investigation without recommending any criminal charge against our client. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.S. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we directed our client to complete, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to not approve any charge prior to the scheduled first court appearance. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.L. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charges: Possession of a loaded prohibited firearm; Unlawful storage of firearms.
Issue: Whether the warrant used to search our client's premises was lawful; whether our client posed a risk to re-offend.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to point to potential flaws in the warrant and police search which culminated in Crown's agreement to not pursue their original sentencing position of a 2-3 year jail sentence. Rather, the court accepted a joint submission of a 12 month conditional sentence with a curfew for the first six months. No jail.

R. vs. M.K.A. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault with a Weapon (x2).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for the court to grant our client a conditional discharge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to direct our client through a course of rehabilitative counselling, and after hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the trial judge granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. K.D. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps that we were able to guide our client through, whether there was a public interest in continuing with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to amend the bail condition to allow "permissive contact" with the complainant, and after providing Crown with a report from our client's psychologist Crown counsel ended the prosecution. Stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.L. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Sexual assault; Unlawful Confinement; Assault by Choking.
Issue: Given the impact of the additional evidence that Mr. Johnson provided to Crown counsel, whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Crown counsel agreed that the new evidence significantly undermined the strength of the case.  Crown counsel entered a stay of proceedings, bringing the prosecution to an end. No jail. 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.