Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Osgoode Hall is seen in Toronto on Sept. 25, 2019. Police violations of the accused's rights in two Ontario cases resulted in quashed convictions for child pornography and weapons offences on Tuesday.

The Canadian Press

Police violations of the accused’s rights in two Ontario cases resulted in quashed convictions for child pornography and weapons offences on Tuesday.

In separate decisions, Ontario’s top court ruled the breaches were serious enough to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

In the first case, the court ordered a new trial for Peter McSweeney, who was convicted in October, 2017, of child pornography offences based in part on self-incriminating statements he made to police.

Story continues below advertisement

Court documents show nine police officers went to Mr. McSweeney’s home in Whitby, Ont., on an early morning in May, 2016. They arrived with a search warrant after receiving a report that someone had uploaded pornographic images from an account registered to that address.

At one point, Durham Regional Police Detective Constable Jeff Lockwood asked Mr. McSweeney to head to the porch and, without advising him of his rights, questioned him.

In one exchange, Mr. McSweeney made a self-incriminating statement, after which he was arrested. Questioning continued at the police station, and despite Mr. McSweeney saying he wished to remain silent after talking to a lawyer, he again incriminated himself.

At trial, Ontario court Justice Mary Teresa Devlin allowed the accused’s statements as evidence over defence objections. Justice Devlin ruled the suspect was not detained when he confessed on the porch, and the officer was therefore not obliged to advise him of his right to speak to a lawyer immediately.

The Appeal Court disagreed, finding a reasonable observer would have considered Mr, McSweeney to have been under detention at home. In addition, the questioning at the police station was improper, the court ruled.

“The state conduct was wilful and in disregard of the appellant’s asserted charter rights,” the higher court concluded. “It had a serious impact on those rights and on his attempt to exercise them.”

The court ordered a new trial, saying the now-excluded confessions were important but not critical to the prosecution.

Story continues below advertisement

Separately, the court entered an acquittal in the case of Bilaal Mohammed, who was convicted of firearms and other offences in May, 2016.

Evidence was that provincial police stopped him in a parking lot near Alfred, Ont., for a broken licence-plate light. The officer smelled marijuana and decided to investigate further, without advising Mr. Mohammed of his right to speak to a lawyer.

One officer strip-searched Mr. Mohammed in the parking lot, dropping his pants to his ankles. Police found nothing untoward. However, a search of his car turned up some cash, several cell phones, some cannabis and ammunition.

Officers then asked if he had a gun, and he said he did, strapped to his pant leg. The officers arrested him, advised him of his rights, and took him to the police station, where they searched through his cellphone.

Justice Paul Belanger convicted Mr. Mohammed of weapons and other offences related to the items police found in the car.

Mr. Mohammed appealed, arguing evidence obtained during the strip search and the searches of his car and phone should have been excluded. The prosecution agreed police violated Mr. Mohammed’s rights by failing initially to advise him of his rights and questioning him for more than 20 minutes before he was able to talk to a lawyer.

Story continues below advertisement

The Crown conceded the strip search and search of his phone without a warrant were also serious charter breaches.

“The Crown’s concessions are appropriate and we accept them,” the Appeal Court said in acquitting Mr. Mohammed. “In our view, each of the breaches is very serious. Taken as a whole, the breaches are so egregious that the evidence must be excluded.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies