A Victoria police officer’s stop and search of a man on Pandora Avenue was deemed in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Black Press Media file photo)

A Victoria police officer’s stop and search of a man on Pandora Avenue was deemed in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Black Press Media file photo)

Vancouver Island judge rules police can’t use jaywalking as a drug bust ruse

Victoria officers followed man they suspected of possessing drugs, stopped him for jaywalking

A Victoria police officer’s stop and search of a man walking on Pandora Avenue was deemed unlawful in B.C. Supreme Court last month.

On April 1, 2019, a VicPD constable was on foot patrol near the 900-block of Pandora Avenue when he saw what he suspected to be a drug transaction. He and his partner followed one of the men for two or three blocks before stopping him for jaywalking.

The officer testified that he then saw a cylindrical tube in the man’s pocket, which he assumed to be pepper spray. He and his partner arrested the man for possession of a weapon and issued him a ticket for disobeying a pedestrian control signal.

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The man argued that the officers used jaywalking as a ruse to further their drug investigation. His counsel argued that his detention was unlawful, the subsequent search unreasonable and his rights infringed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Justice Douglas Thompson agreed.

In his decision on Jan. 6, the B.C. Supreme Court justice writes that the only real reason the officers stopped the man was to secure evidence in support of drug charges.

“In conclusion, the jaywalking stop was a pretext,” Thompson wrote. “In the event, it was a productive ruse that resulted in the gathering of critical evidence in the drug investigation.”

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