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Police - Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

. R. v. Currado

In R. v. Currado (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered a defence allegation of 'institutional bias':
[24] The appellant also places reliance on the Supreme Court of Canada’s judgment in R. v. Lippé, 1990 CanLII 18 (SCC), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 114. He submits that the institutional bias described in Lippé finds a counterpart in this case in the LPS’s institutional conflict of interest arising out of its role as victim and investigator.

[25] Institutional bias, as described in Lippé, can have application in the context of an abuse of process claim based on the residual category. A conflict giving rise to an abuse of process within the residual category can arise where the conflict flows from generally applicable statutory mandates or structures, and not from any concerns particular to a specific fact situation. Section 19(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019, S.O. 2019, c. 1, Sched. 5, which requires that police forces not investigate member police officers for certain serious offences, can be seen as a statutory recognition that the risk of institutional bias, either for or against a charged officer, is, in the circumstances addressed by the Act, so serious as to preclude a police force from investigating the matter.

[26] Beyond describing the concept of institutional bias, Lippé is of no assistance in this case. Lippé involved a challenge under s. 11(d) of the Charter to the independence and impartiality of municipal courts in Québec. Section 11(d) applies to courts who are adjudicating charges against individuals. The concepts of impartiality and independence, as considered in Lippé, have no application to the LPS, an investigative arm of the administration of justice.


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Last modified: 27-04-23
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