Police Assault Good Samaritan

Orillia Ontario Canada Good Samaritan Criminal Case

Her Majesty v Farrell, Maria Ontario Court of Justice 2014

When police assault citizen providing aid to a victim of crime and try to assist police.

Though I tend to focus on important Supreme Court Canada and Charter of Rights cases sometimes it’s the small cases that have a bigger impact on peoples civil liberties, and their perceptions on government, police and Crown Attorney (criminal prosecution) conduct, fairness and justice, and the relationship between the Crown and Citizens. The Good Samaritan Criminal Case is one such case.  The circumstances of the case could be anyone, anywhere in Canada and any police force.  Most of us have been Good Samaritans at one time or another and/or assisted the police, this case is an example of how things can wrong so fast, with life altering results. When Good Samaritans face criminal charges for being Good Samaritans, of assaulting police.

Recently the Toronto Star and other newspapers have reported on the Good Samaritan Case, where a woman came to the aid of another woman who had been assaulted only to end up arrested.  The Good Samaritan, Maria “Tonie” Farrell was arrested by a police officer (OPP) for assault on a police officer and obstruction of police officer under the Criminal Code Canada. Plus Maria Farrell was severely injured during the arrest and may have a long term disability as a result.

Below you will find a complete copy of Ontario Court of Justice, Judge George Beatty’s decision and his comments on the conduct of the OPP officer.  I always feel that it is important that people have direct access to the source of a story, especially if that source is a court decision and judge’s comments. The file in pdf form.

Good Samaritan Case Summation.

Good Samaritan Ms. Farrell witnessed a woman getting assaulted by 3 people in car park around 2am and went to her aid, attackers fled.  Another witness called 911.  Police arrived (OPP) quickly, the number of constables varied during the incident from 1-5.  Ms. Farrell tried to have a conversation with Sgt. Watson that quickly escalated to her being arrested. During the conversation Ms. Farrell testified that Sgt Watson was very aggressive and told her to “shut the fuck up”.  In the “scuffle” of her arrest Ms. Farrell ended up injured and on the ground landing head first, from a hand chop to her face, a harsh kick, and the officer falling on her, which resulted in facial injuries, a knee injury and damaged leg, broken tibia.  Ms. Farrell may have been unco-operative during her arrest, but she was non-violent, not aggressive, and in defensive postures. Sgt. Watson claimed Ms. Farrell had “taken a poke” at him. As a result of Sgt Watson’s conduct Ms. Farrell suffered injuries to her neck and back, crushed knee, 2 operations to repair her tibia with a plate, knee replacement, lost tooth, and walks with a cane.  Ms. Farrell was charged with obstructing and assaulting Sgt. Watson a police officer with Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) on April 2 2013. [Source R v Farrell, Maria Ontario Court of Justice Dec 16 2014, Orillia #13-0543 written by Judge W. G. Beatty (WGB)]

Criminal Code Canada Charges.

 Every one who (a) resists or willfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer, (b) omits, without reasonable excuse, to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty in arresting a person or in preserving the peace, after having reasonable notice that he is required to do so, or (c) resists or willfully obstructs any person in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure, is guilty of (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction. [R.S., c. C-34, s. 118; 1972, c. 13, s. 7.]  s129CCC.

 (1) Every one commits an offence who (a) assaults a public officer or peace officer engaged in the execution of his duty or a person acting in aid of such an officer; (b) assaults a person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or another person; or (c) assaults a person (i) who is engaged in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure, or (ii) with intent to rescue anything taken under lawful process, distress or seizure. (2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction. [R.S., c. C-34, s. 246; 1972, c. 13, s. 22; 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.] s270CCC.

Findings of Trial Judge, Justice G.W. Beatty.

Ms Farrell was acting as a Good Samaritan who went to the assistance of [victim] who was being assaulted by three others. Ms Farrell had no criminal record and wanted to assist [OPP] Sgt Watson in identifying the assailants. [OPP] Sgt Watson’s demeanor on the witness stand was curt and somewhat aggressive. A reasonable inference is that Ms Farrell was telling the truth  when she said that Sgt Watson told her to “Shut the fuck up”. Sgt Watson provided no explanation as to how Ms Farrell’s [injuries occurred] Sgt Watson’s recollection of events is suspect. Sgt Watson fell on top of her. Ms Farrell weighed 140 lbs at the time and Sgt Watson is a large and powerfully built man.  There is no doubt that Ms Farrell would be in pain from multiple injuries and trying to cover her face from further damage. If Ms Farrell did touch Sgt Watson, the assault would be of such minimal consequences as to not attract criminal liability. [Touching officer’s label] The allegations that Ms Farrell tried to kick Sgt Watson’s legs is not supported by the evidence. Ms Farrell  showed no intent to obstruct his investigation. Her excitement and zeal may have been distracting for Sgt Watson. Ms Farrell intended to assist the investigation.

Police officers are trained and experienced in handling people who are intoxicated, drug addicted, mentally ill, armed or violent.  They apply their psychological skills and the minimum of force in maintaining the peace and protecting the public. That did not happen in this case. [Charges] must be dismissed.

I have edited and paraphrased the above findings of Justice W.G. Beatty, the original paragraph with proper citation was too cumbersome and hard to read. The original findings of Justice G.W. Beatty can be found on pages 6-8 of the decision.  R v Farrell, Maria Ontario Court of Justice Dec 16 2014, Orillia #13-0543 written by Judge W. G. Beatty (WGB)

Complete Ontario Court of Justice decision.

Download decision here> R v FARRELL PDF.
Ontario Court of Justice (City of Orillia, court file 13-0543)
December 16 2014 written by Judge W.G. Beatty.

Ontario Provincial Police Response.

The OPP police sergeant was subject to three investigations (SIU, Office of Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), Section 11 Police Services Act investigation). OPP noted the OPP Professional Standards Bureau “conducted a thorough, conduct-related investigation and reported its findings back to OIPRD.” The OPP stated the Professional Standards Bureau investigation “did not find any misconduct on the officer’s part.”

SIU Police Conduct Investigation.

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) conducted a month long investigation into this incident but decided that there was no reasonable grounds to lay charges against OPP Sgt Watson. This is occurred before the trial court decision and Justice findings on Sgt Watson’s conduct and it is unclear whether the SIU will re-open the investigation. Former SIU director and current Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin believes the investigation should be re-opened.  Andre Marin questioned the secrecy behind the SIU investigation and believes that transparency requires disclosure.  Ms Farrell’s criminal defence lawyer filed an Access to Information request to see the SIU investigation findings but she was denied.  Ms Farrell now has permanent disabilities and is unable to work. (Toronto Star).

Background News Stories (post court decision).

  • Dec 16 2014 Intelligencer “Judge slams OPP officer acquits Good Samaritan” Intell1.
  • Dec 18 2014 CTV Barrie “Good Samaritan from Orillia acquitted; continues fight for justice” with video CTVbarrie1.
  • Dec 29 2014 Toronto Star “Good deed punished – at the hands of cop” TOstar1.
  • Dec 30 2014 Toronto Star “Ex-SIU chief says probe into cop beating of Good Samaritan should be re-opened” TOstar2.
  • Jan 7 2015 Toronto Sun “Orillia woman [Good Samaritan] waits for investigation into her beating” TOsun1.
  • Jan 7 2015 Barrie Examiner “Orillia [Good Samaritan] beating victim waiting in limbo” barrieEx1
  • Jan 12 2015 Toronto Star Readers Letters “Good Samaritan case a disgrace” TOstar3.
  • Jan 19 2015 Cambridge Times “Protestors demand justice outside Orillia OPP detachment” CamTimes1.
  • Jan 19 2015 Barrie Examiner “Protestors picket OPP [police] detachment” barrieEx2.

Thank you for reading, Richard.

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Copyright Notice on Notice

Copyright Law Notice on Notice

New Copyright laws come into force January 2015.  Many lawyers and journalists, and corporations have spoken on these new sections but none have posted the actual law, and thus imposed their own understandings, perceptions, and agendas on the the law.  This post is dedicated to the actual wording of the law not any interpretation, it is for information purposes only.  Further these sections have to be read in conjunction with the whole of the Copyright Act.

The Core sections of the new copyright notice on notice regime are section 41.25 and 41.26 of the Copyright Act and passed as amendments in the Copyright Modernization Act.

Provisions Respecting Providers of Network Services or Information Location Tools

41.25 (1) An owner of the copyright in a work or other subject-matter may send a notice of claimed infringement to a person who provides
(a) the means, in the course of providing services related to the operation of the Internet or another digital network, of telecommunication through which the electronic location that is the subject of the claim of infringement is connected to the Internet or another digital network;
(b) for the purpose set out in subsection 31.1(4), the digital memory that is used for the electronic location to which the claim of infringement relates; or
(c) an information location tool as defined in subsection 41.27(5).

• Marginal note: Form and content of notice

(2) A notice of claimed infringement shall be in writing in the form, if any, prescribed by regulation and shall
(a) state the claimant’s name and address and any other particulars prescribed by regulation that enable communication with the claimant;
(b) identify the work or other subject-matter to which the claimed infringement relates;
(c) state the claimant’s interest or right with respect to the copyright in the work or other subject-matter;
(d) specify the location data for the electronic location to which the claimed infringement relates;
(e) specify the infringement that is claimed;
(f) specify the date and time of the commission of the claimed infringement; and
(g) contain any other information that may be prescribed by regulation.

• Marginal note: Obligations related to notice

41.26 (1) A person described in paragraph 41.25(1)(a) or (b) who receives a notice of claimed infringement that complies with subsection 41.25(2) shall, on being paid any fee that the person has lawfully charged for doing so,
(a) as soon as feasible forward the notice electronically to the person to whom the electronic location identified by the location data specified in the notice belongs and inform the claimant of its forwarding or, if applicable, of the reason why it was not possible to forward it; and
(b) retain records that will allow the identity of the person to whom the electronic location belongs to be determined, and do so for six months beginning on the day on which the notice of claimed infringement is received or, if the claimant commences proceedings relating to the claimed infringement and so notifies the person before the end of those six months, for one year after the day on which the person receives the notice of claimed infringement.

• Marginal note:Fees related to notices

(2) The Minister may, by regulation, fix the maximum fee that a person may charge for performing his or her obligations under subsection (1). If no maximum is fixed by regulation, the person may not charge any amount under that subsection.

• Marginal note:Damages related to notices

(3) A claimant’s only remedy against a person who fails to perform his or her obligations under subsection (1) is statutory damages in an amount that the court considers just, but not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000.

• Marginal note:Regulations — change of amounts

(4) The Governor in Council may, by regulation, increase or decrease the minimum or maximum amount of statutory damages set out in subsection (3).

• Marginal note: Injunctive relief only — providers of information location tools

41.27 (1) In any proceedings for infringement of copyright, the owner of the copyright in a work or other subject-matter is not entitled to any remedy other than an injunction against a provider of an information location tool that is found to have infringed copyright by making a reproduction of the work or other subject-matter or by communicating that reproduction to the public by telecommunication.

• Marginal note:Conditions for application

(2) Subsection (1) applies only if the provider, in respect of the work or other subject-matter,
(a) makes and caches, or does any act similar to caching, the reproduction in an automated manner for the purpose of providing the information location tool;
(b) communicates that reproduction to the public by telecommunication for the purpose of providing the information that has been located by the information location tool;
(c) does not modify the reproduction, other than for technical reasons;
(d) complies with any conditions relating to the making or caching, or doing of any act similar to caching, of reproductions of the work or other subject-matter, or to the communication of the reproductions to the public by telecommunication, that were specified in a manner consistent with industry practice by whoever made the work or other subject-matter available through the Internet or another digital network and that lend themselves to automated reading and execution; and
(e) does not interfere with the use of technology that is lawful and consistent with industry practice in order to obtain data on the use of the work or other subject-matter.

• Marginal note:Limitation

(3) If the provider receives a notice of claimed infringement, relating to a work or other subject-matter, that complies with subsection 41.25(2) after the work or other subject-matter has been removed from the electronic location set out in the notice, then subsection (1) applies, with respect to reproductions made from that electronic location, only to infringements that occurred before the day that is 30 days — or the period that may be prescribed by regulation — after the day on which the provider receives the notice.

• Marginal note:Exception

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to the provision of the information location tool if the provision of that tool constitutes an infringement of copyright under subsection 27(2.3).

• Marginal note:Factors  —  scope of injunction

(4.1) If it grants an injunction as set out in subsection (1), the court shall, among any other relevant factors, consider the following in establishing the terms of the injunction:
(a) the harm likely to be suffered by the copyright owner if steps are not taken to prevent or restrain the infringement; and
(b) the burden imposed on the provider and on the operation of the information location tool, including
(i) the aggregate effect of the injunction and any injunctions from other proceedings,
(ii) whether implementing the injunction would be technically feasible and effective in addressing the infringement,
(iii) whether implementing the injunction would interfere with the use of the information location tool for non-infringing acts, and
(iv) the availability of less burdensome and comparably effective means of preventing or restraining the infringement.

• Marginal note:Limitation

(4.2) A court is not permitted to grant an injunction under section 39.1 against a provider who is the subject of an injunction set out in subsection (1).

• Meaning of “information location tool”

(5) In this section, “information location tool” means any tool that makes it possible to locate information that is available through the Internet or another digital network.

The Statues and Law (Justice Canada website)

Copyright Modernization Act (S.C. 2012, c. 20 Assented to 2012-06-29 [Bill C-11]) Here1.

Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) Table of Contents Here2.

Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) Part IV Remedies s. 41 Here3.

The End.

Criminal Law: Cyberbullying Bill C13

[Please note this is a work in progress, I may add more sections of  Bill C-13 and more explanations later, but below are the man sections concerning cyberbullying] Below is the relevant text of the “Cyberbullying” Bill C-13 introduced into the House of Common Wednesday November 20th.  Full title; “An Act to amend the Criminal Code Canada, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act” and the short title “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY (BILL HEADNOTE)

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide, most notably, for

(a) a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images as well as complementary amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet and the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images, the forfeiture of property used in the commission of the offence, a recognizance order to be issued to prevent the distribution of such images and the restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender;
(b) the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence;
(c) new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things;
(d) a warrant that will extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to transmission data relating to all means of telecommunications;
(e) warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things and that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake; and
(f) a streamlined process of obtaining warrants and orders related to an authorization to intercept private communications by ensuring that those warrants and orders can be issued by a judge who issues the authorization and by specifying that all documents relating to a request for a related warrant or order are automatically subject to the same rules respecting confidentiality as the request for authorization.
The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that the spouse is a competent and compellable witness for the prosecution with respect to the new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
It also amends the Competition Act to make applicable, for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of that Act, the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents relating to the transmission of communications or financial data. It also modernizes the provisions of the Act relating to electronic evidence and provides for more effective enforcement in a technologically advanced environment.
Lastly, it amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

CRIMINAL CODE

2. Section 4 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after subsection (7):

Means of telecommunication
(8) For greater certainty, for the purposes of this Act, if the elements of an offence contain an explicit or implicit element of communication without specifying the means of communication, the communication may also be made by a means of telecommunication.

3. The Act is amended by adding the following after section 162:

Publication, etc., of an intimate image without consent
162.1
(1) Everyone who knowingly publishes, distributes, transmits, sells, makes available or advertises an intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent to that conduct, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent to that conduct, is guilty
(a) of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or
(b) of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Definition of “intimate image”
(2) In this section, “intimate image” means a visual recording of a person made by any means including a photographic, film or video recording,
(a) in which the person is nude, is exposing his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts or is engaged in explicit sexual activity;
(b) in respect of which, at the time of the recording, there were circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
(c) in respect of which the person depicted retains a reasonable expectation of privacy at the time the offence is committed.

Defence
(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section if the conduct that forms the subject-matter of the charge serves the public good and does not extend beyond what serves the public good.

Question of fact and law, motives
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3),
(a) it is a question of law whether the conduct serves the public good and whether there is evidence that the conduct alleged goes beyond what serves the public good, but it is a question of fact whether the conduct does or does not extend beyond what serves the public good; and
(b) the motives of an accused are irrelevant.

Prohibition order
162.2 (1) When an offender is convicted, or is discharged on the conditions prescribed in a probation order under section 730, of an offence referred to in subsection 162.1(1), the court that sentences or discharges the offender, in addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for that offence or any other condition prescribed in the order of discharge, may make, subject to the conditions or exemptions that the court directs, an order prohibiting the offender from using the Internet or other digital network, unless the offender does so in accordance with conditions set by the court.

Duration of prohibition
(2) The prohibition may be for any period that the court considers appropriate, including any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment.

Court may vary order
(3) A court that makes an order of prohibition or, if the court is for any reason unable to act, another court of equivalent jurisdiction in the same province may, on application of the offender or the prosecutor, require the offender to appear before it at any time and, after hearing the parties, that court may vary the conditions prescribed in the order if, in the opinion of the court, the variation is desirable because of changed circumstances after the conditions were prescribed.

Offence
(4) Every person who is bound by an order of prohibition and who does not comply with the order is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

LINKS: BILL C13