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Common Law Police Powers Generated from 1985-1989: 

In the 1980s, Dedman v The Queen  (1985) established that checkstop programs such as Reduced Impairment Driving Everywhere (RIDE) were justified by statute and the common law. In the following few years, the courts built on the ruling in Dedman by deciding that police have the power to stop a vehicle while roving the streets (R v Spurvey, [1986] NJ No 266, R v Rellin, [1986] BCJ No 1278, R v George, [1988] NJ No 219), in addition to checkstop powers.


In many instances,  demanding roadside sobriety tests were found to be legal under the common law and statute  (R v Dube, [1986] NBJ No 458, R v Learn, [1986] OJ No 1967, R v Gallant, [1989] AJ No 311). A police officer does not engage an individual's Charter-protected right to counsel when asking him or her to participate in a roadside sobriety test (R v Learn, at paragraph 12).

While Charter jurisprudence around search and seizure was in its infancy, in the mid-to-late '80s, courts established common law powers dealing with searching an individual incident to arrest and prior to being arrested (R v DeBot, [1986] OJ No 994), along with well-being checks that can result in an officer opening the door of a vehicle without a warrant (R v Patrick, [1986] AJ No 190).

Hover over the boxes below to reveal the cases that generated police powers in each year.

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