R. v. Tessling (W.), (2004) 192 O.A.C. 168 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, LeBel, Deschamps and Fish, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateApril 16, 2004
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2004), 192 O.A.C. 168 (SCC);2004 SCC 67

R. v. Tessling (W.) (2004), 192 O.A.C. 168 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Temp. Cite: [2004] O.A.C. TBEd. OC.105

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. Walter Tessling (respondent) and Attorney General of Ontario, Attorney General of Quebec and Canadian Civil Liberties Association (interveners)

(29670; 2004 SCC 67; 2004 CSC 67)

Indexed As: R. v. Tessling (W.)

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, LeBel, Deschamps and Fish, JJ.

October 29, 2004.

Summary:

The RCMP flew over private property with an airplane equipped with a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera to detect heat rays. The camera indicated that the accused's property had heat emanations potentially indicative of a marijuana growing operation. Relying on results of the FLIR camera examination and on tips from two confidential informants, police obtained a search warrant and entered the accused's home. The police found a large quantity of marijuana, two sets of scales, freezer bags and some weapons. The accused was charged with drugs and weapons offences. The accused applied to exclude the evidence against him under s. 24 of the Charter, alleging that there had been a breach of s. 8 of the Charter. The trial judge held that the use of the FLIR technology was not a search within the meaning of s. 8 of the Charter and that, considering the totality of the circumstances, the information used to obtain the search warrant was adequate. The warrant was therefore valid and the search thereunder reasonable. The accused then pleaded guilty to the drugs and weapons offences, except for a trafficking charge. The trial proceeded on the trafficking charge alone and the accused was convicted. The accused appealed, the main issue being whether the use of the FLIR aerial camera to detect heat rays emanating from a private home constituted a search within the meaning of s. 8 of the Charter.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 168 O.A.C. 124, allowed the appeal. The court held that the accused's s. 8 rights were breached and the evidence obtained should be excluded under s. 24 of the Charter. There being no other evidence available, the court set aside the convictions and entered verdicts of acquittal. The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal, set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and restored the convictions. The Court held that s. 8 was not engaged because the accused had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the heat distribution information regarding his house.

Civil Rights - Topic 1508

Property - Expectation of privacy - The RCMP flew over the accused's property and used a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera to detect heat rays potentially indicative of a marijuana growing operation - Relying on two tips and on the FLIR camera results, the police obtained a search warrant, searched the premises and found drugs and weapons - The accused was charged with drugs and weapons offences - The accused alleged a violation of s. 8 of the Charter - The Supreme Court of Canada held that s. 8 was not triggered because the accused had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the heat distribution information regarding his house - See paragraphs 1 to 66.

Civil Rights - Topic 1554

Property - Land - Taking of photographs (incl. aerial photography and infra-red technology) - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1508 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 1556

Property - Land - Search or seizure of private residence - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1508 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 1642

Property - Search and seizure - Search - What constitutes - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1508 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 1646

Property - Search and seizure - Unreasonable search and seizure defined - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1508 ].

Police - Topic 3183

Powers - Search - Electronic surveillance, video cameras, beepers, infra-red technology, etc. - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1508 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Evans (C.R.) et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 8; 191 N.R. 327; 69 B.C.A.C. 81; 113 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 417; 89 N.R. 249; 73 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 13; 229 A.P.R. 13; 55 D.L.R.(4th) 503, refd to. [para. 13].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291; 9 C.R.R. 355; 14 C.C.C.(3d) 97, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Thompson et al., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1111; 114 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Plant (R.S.), [1993] 3 S.C.R. 281; 157 N.R. 321; 145 A.R. 104; 55 W.A.C. 104; 84 C.C.C.(3d) 203, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. Wise, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 527; 133 N.R. 161; 51 O.A.C. 351; 70 C.C.C.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. Caslake (T.L.), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 51; 221 N.R. 281; 123 Man.R.(2d) 208; 159 W.A.C. 208, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. Collins, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 265; 74 N.R. 276, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. Edwards (C.), [1996] 1 S.C.R. 128; 192 N.R. 81; 88 O.A.C. 321, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Golden (I.V.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 679; 279 N.R. 1; 153 O.A.C. 201; 2001 SCC 83, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Stillman (W.W.D.), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 607; 209 N.R. 81; 185 N.B.R.(2d) 1; 472 A.P.R. 1, refd to. [para. 21].

Semayne's Case, Re, [1558-1774] All E.R. Rep. 62 (K.B.), refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Silveira (A.), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 297; 181 N.R. 161; 81 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Feeney (M.), [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13; 212 N.R. 83; 91 B.C.A.C. 1; 148 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Kokesch, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 3; 121 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Grant (D.), [1993] 3 S.C.R. 223; 159 N.R. 161; 35 B.C.A.C. 1; 57 W.A.C. 1; 84 C.C.C.(3d) 173, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Wiley (R.W.), [1993] 3 S.C.R. 263; 158 N.R. 321; 34 B.C.A.C. 135; 56 W.A.C. 135; 84 C.C.C.(3d) 161, refd to. [para. 22].

Thomson Newspapers Ltd. v. Director of Investigation and Research, Combines Investigation Act et al., [1990] 1 S.C.R. 425; 106 N.R. 161; 39 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. McKinlay Transport Ltd. and C.T. Transport Inc., [1990] 1 S.C.R. 627; 106 N.R. 385; 39 O.A.C. 385, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Mellenthin, [1992] 3 S.C.R. 615; 144 N.R. 50; 135 A.R. 1; 33 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. M.R.M., [1998] 3 S.C.R. 393; 233 N.R. 1; 171 N.S.R.(2d) 125; 519 A.P.R. 125; 129 C.C.C.(3d) 361, refd to. [para. 22].

Weatherall v. Canada (Attorney General) - see Conway v. Canada.

Conway v. Canada, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 872; 154 N.R. 392, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. S.A.B. et al., [2003] 2 S.C.R. 678; 311 N.R. 1; 339 A.R. 1; 312 W.A.C. 1; 2003 SCC 60, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Law - see R. v. 2821109 Canada Inc. et al.

R. v. 2821109 Canada Inc. et al., [2002] 1 S.C.R. 227; 281 N.R. 267; 245 N.B.R.(2d) 270; 636 A.P.R. 270; 2002 SCC 10, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Hutchings (E.W.) (1996), 83 B.C.A.C. 25; 136 W.A.C. 25; 111 C.C.C.(3d) 25 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Boersma (D.) and Nicols (R.W.), [1994] 2 S.C.R. 488; 168 N.R. 196; 45 B.C.A.C. 3; 72 W.A.C. 3, refd to. [para. 40].

Baron et al. v. Minister of National Revenue et al., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 416; 146 N.R. 270, refd to. [para. 40].

R. v. Monney (I.), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 652; 237 N.R. 157; 119 O.A.C. 272, refd to. [para. 40].

R. v. Joyce (R.C.) and Kennedy (T.D.) (1996), 95 O.A.C. 321 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 41].

Kyllo v. United States (2001), 533 U.S. 27, not folld. [para. 45].

R. v. Buhay (M.A.), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 631; 305 N.R. 158; 177 Man.R.(2d) 72; 304 W.A.C. 72; 2003 SCC 30, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Dinh (H.T.) (2003), 330 A.R. 63; 299 W.A.C. 63; 16 Alta. L.R.(4th) 26; 2003 ABCA 201, refd to. [para. 52].

Schreiber v. Canada (Attorney General), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 841; 225 N.R. 297, refd to. [para. 54].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 8 [para. 12].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Brougham, H., Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III (1855), vol. 1, p. 42 [para. 14].

Canada, Department of Communications/ Department of Justice, Report of the Task Force, Privacy and Computers (1972), p. 13 [para. 23].

Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), pp. 4, 5 [para. 54].

Westin, Alan F., Privacy and Freedom (1970), p. 7 [para. 23].

Counsel:

James W. Leising and Morris Pistyner, for the appellant;

Frank Miller and A. Thomas Costaris, for the respondent;

Scott C. Hutchison, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Ontario;

Dominique Jobin and Gilles Laporte, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Peter M. Brauti, Sara J. Erskine and Brian G. Wasyliw, for the intervener, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Solicitors of Record:

Attorney General of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellant;

Frank Miller, Windsor, Ontario, for the respondent;

Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener, Attorney General of Ontario.

Attorney General of Quebec, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Quebec;

McCarthy, Tétrault, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

This appeal was heard on April 16, 2004, before McLachlin, C.J.C., Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, LeBel, Deschamps and Fish, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. Binnie, J., delivered the following decision for the court in both official languages on October 29, 2004.

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