James Andrew Beaver v. Her Majesty the Queen (39480); Brian John Lambert v. R (39481)

Posted on: 2022-02-15


The appellants were convicted of manslaughter in relation to the death of their roommate. After being initially detained by officers at the scene under a non-existent law, they were arrested by detectives for murder two hours later at the police station. Following a lengthy interview, Lambert confessed to their involvement in the death of the roommate; when confronted with the confession, Beaver admitted his participation as well. At trial, the appellants sought the exclusion of all evidence which derived from alleged violations of their rights protected by ss. 7, 9, 10(a) and 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They also alleged that the detective who arrested them at the station did not have reasonable and probable grounds to do so. The Crown conceded that the appellants’ Charter rights had been breached when they were detained under a non-existent law, but argued that the arrest at the station constituted a “fresh start” which insulated the confessions from the previous breaches. The trial judge dismissed the application, finding that the police had reasonable and probable grounds to arrest the appellants for murder at the police station, and that the arrests constituted a “fresh start” which cured the previous breaches. He concluded that the appellants’ subsequent confessions had not been tainted by the breaches. Nevertheless, the trial judge conducted a s. 24(2) analysis as set out in R. v. Grant, 2009 SCC 32, and concluded that the confessions would have been admitted, in any event. The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appellants’ appeals.

Argued Date



Criminal law - Charter of Rights, Evidence, Admissibility - Criminal law - Charter of Rights - Evidence - Admissibility - Reasonable and probable grounds for arrest - Under what circumstances can police attempts at a “fresh start” insulate evidence from admissibility consideration pursuant to s. 24(2) of the Charter - Should judicial scrutiny of reasonable and probable grounds be more stringent in circumstances where the arrestee was unlawfully detained and police have no notes regarding the grounds for arrest or the information relied upon - What information must be imparted to a detainee to permit them to make a meaningful choice about whether or not to speak with police?.


(Alberta) (Criminal) (By Leave)


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