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Police - Assault

. R. v. Lindsay

In R. v. Lindsay (SCC, 2023) the Supreme Court of Canada considered the 'justified police force' provisions of s.25 CCC:
Nor do we accept the appellant’s argument that the trial judge erred in concluding that s. 25(1) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, did not provide a defence for the appellant’s use of force against the individual. Section 25(1) “essentially provides that a police officer is justified in using force to effect a lawful arrest, provided that he or she acted on reasonable and probable grounds and used only as much force as was necessary in the circumstances” (R. v. Nasogaluak, 2010 SCC 6, [2010] 1 S.C.R. 206, at para. 34). ...
. R. v. Black

In R. v. Black (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered a Charter s.7 criminal appeal, alleging a police beating. The 'justified police force' provisions of CCC 25(4) were pivotal ['Protection of persons acting under authority - When Protected']:
[3] The appellant claimed that he suffered the injuries when he was beaten by the police and that the injuries suffered by him constituted a breach of his rights under s. 7 of the Charter. The appellant further argued that the police conduct was sufficiently egregious to warrant a stay of the criminal proceedings brought against him. ...


The Section 7 Claim

[5] A police officer is justified in using force intended to cause grievous bodily harm in only limited circumstances: Criminal Code, s. 25(4). In essence, the officer must believe, on reasonable grounds, that the use of that force was necessary to protect the officer or others from grievous bodily harm: R. v. Nasogaluak, 2010 SCC 6, at para. 34. The ultimate determination of whether an officer’s use of force was justified under s. 25(4) of the Criminal Code is a question of law reviewable on a correctness standard. However, in deciding that question of law, this court must accept the relevant findings of fact made by the trial judge unless those findings are tainted by a material misapprehension of evidence, a failure to consider relevant material evidence, or are unreasonable: R. v. Shepherd, 2009 SCC 35, at para. 20.

[6] The trial judge concluded that, on the facts as he found them, the police actions were justified under s. 25(4) of the Criminal Code. Counsel for the appellant submits that the trial judge’s factual findings are premised on a material misapprehension of the evidence and that this court is not bound by those findings.


[15] Moving from the trial judge’s factual findings to the application of the law to those findings, we are satisfied that, on the facts as found by the trial judge, the officers were justified under s. 25(4) in using the force they used. The relevant facts include:
. When the police attended at the residence to execute the search warrant, they had reasonable grounds to believe that one of the occupants was a violent criminal in possession of firearms;

. Before the police entered the premises, they saw the appellant running around inside. He appeared to be in a panic after seeing the police presence;

. The police had reasonable grounds to believe that the person running around in the apartment was the person known to them to have a criminal record and carry firearms;

. The police first tasered the appellant in response to the appellant kicking one of the officers and refusing to cooperate;

. After the first tasering, it was reasonable for the police to believe that the person in the bathtub was carrying a firearm and continued to pose a danger to them; and

. The force applied by the officers after the first tasering amounted to reasonable efforts to gain control of the appellant and protect themselves should the appellant have been armed.
[16] On the trial judge’s findings, the actions of the police officers fall within the justification defence created by s. 25(4). There was no breach of s. 7 of the Charter, and no basis upon which to stay the proceedings.


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Last modified: 18-12-23
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