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R. v. Feeney [1997] - entered without warrant

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Tammy Johnston

on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of R. v. Feeney [1997] - entered without warrant

Case Analysis
R. v. Feeney
1997 R.V. Feeney Facts Table of Contents
Case Summary: R. v. Feeney, [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Verdict reached by the Supreme Court of Canada
What are the Issues?
Impact of Case
Justice for all? Things to think about By:
Chris Hertel
Braden Johnston
Cole Lewis
In 1991, Michael Feeney was held accountable for the death of Frank Boyle
Frank Boyle, aged 85 years was found beaten to death in his home involving five blows to the head
Police arrived at the scene and noticed a pack of Sportsman cigarettes amongst other things
The victim's truck was found; it had been stolen and involved in an accident
Witness told police that they are seen Michael Feeney walking away from the truck
The police immediately went to Feeney's trailer and an officer identified himself as a policeman
There was no answer and the police entered with his gun drawn without an arrest warrant
Police found the appellant asleep and there was blood splattered all over his clothes and a pack of Sportsmans cigarettes nearby
The police then forced Feeney out of his trailer so that they could get a better look at him
After noticing blood on his shirt, police immediately arrested him, read him his rights including his right to counsel but failed to advise him of his right to immediate counsel
The police questioned Feeney and confiscated his shirt for evidence
Feeney was taken to the police station before he had consulted with counsel
His fingerprints were taken and while questioned admitted to hitting the victim and stealing from him
Police then obtained a warrant to search Feeney's home where they seized his shoes, cigarettes and cash
Feeney was arrested and later convicted of 2nd degree murder CASE FACTS
[R.v. Feeney, [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13] The Facts - Just the Facts Do you think that the rights of Michael Feeney were violated in this Case cRIMINAL LAW
The police conducted a warrantless and forced arrest Right to Counsel
Rights were read upon arrest but appellant not given adequate time to secure counsel or given access to a telephone before being questioned. (Section 10) Admissibility of Evidence
"A court concludes that evidence obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, the evidence shall be excluded. 24 (2) Search and Seizure
Police entered the home without warrant. There was no reasonable grounds that entry was necessary to prevent harm/death or destruction or loss of evidence. (Section 8 & 9) Rights and Freedoms What about the evidence?
Fingerprint matched those found in the victim's home
Shoe print matched that found on the victim's wallet
Blood of the shirt matched the victim's Feeney was convicted of second degree murder by a jury trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1992. The British Columbia Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed Feeney's appeal. He appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The conviction would not stand! Why not? What does the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms say? Charter Violations Arrest OR Detention

10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention (a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore; (b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; Search & Seizure
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure Detention Or Imprisonment
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned Enforcement of Guaranteed Rights & Freedoms 24 (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances
(2) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The Verdict
The conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered. The supreme Court of Canada agreed with Feeney's appeal and ruled that the arrest was unlawful as the police should not have entered the the suspect's home without a search warrant. The officers failed to follow legal procedures and by doing so denied Feeney of his basic rights and freedoms. As a result, Feeney's confession and evidence collected were inadmissible. Prior to the Feeney appeal police could enter a private dwelling without a warrant for the purpose of arrest if police is in hot pursuit, reasonable grounds to arrest prior to entry, urgent circumstances or a 911 call. All were believed to not apply in this case. Canadians were furious and a murderer walked free on the streets! R. v. Feeney, [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13 What are some of the issues? By not following protocol and violating the Charter of Rights; all of the evidence found was excluded under section 24(2) .

Police only came to know about the cash, shirt, cigarettes and shoes because they entered without a warrant Section 8 of the Charter
"Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure"
What exactly is unreasonable?
How do you know when something is in fact unreasonable? What type of circumstances are considered urgent?

Officer feared the removal or destruction of evidence
Savage attack on a helpless elderly man for no apparent reason suggests that a killer is out of control in a small community and it is the job of the police to protect them
Delay waiting for warrant would have given appellant time to escape
Should the police be praised for their actions rather than criticized? By law, your home is your castle. You have the right to feel safe and privacy in your dwelling and the police cannot enter into any structure without a warrant. What changed as a result of this case?
The Criminal Code was amended to permit the police to obtain a "telewarrant" and police would be able to get a warrant without having to appear before a court.
Development a little too late for Frank Boyle's family. Impact
A few weeks later, a man shot and killed three young men at a campground in British Columbia
While police went to get a warrant to enter from a judge, he escaped and still has not been located or brought to justice Should obvious "factually" guilty murderers be
be released?
Will police have any powers left to investigate serious crimes?
The Charter of Rights was now considered a murderer's best friend and respect for the Charter was lost! Canadian Government Amended the Criminal Code to create the Feeney Warrant. The murderer Michael Feeney had a warrant named after him.

This means that police across Canada can call Justices of the Peace in larger centres from the scene on any day, around the clock. The warrant can be digitally recorded by the Justice of the Peace, immediately authorized and faxed directly to the police car or station.

Amendment too late for Frank Boyle! Whatever happened to Michael Feeney?

All of the evidence used to convict him was obtained in violation of his Charter of Rights. Once the Supreme Court of Canada excluded all the evidence, there was nothing left to convict Feeney.

The Court granted the prosecutors an opportunity to obtain new evidence and retry Feeney. Second trial took place in 1999 in Vancouver and DNA forensics had come a long way. New DNA evidence confirmed that Feeney had murdered Frank Boyle eight years earlier. Fingerprints and blood matched Feeney's and he was found guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt. The Feeney Case forever changed police searches and seizures for suspected criminals and evidence. They must now obtain a warrant before entering a home. Even murderers can be freed if their Charter of rights are not observed. Closing Words
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