Supreme Court Decision in Wood v. Schaeffer

schaefferRuth Schaeffer, Mother of Levi Schaeffer speakers to the press in July 2013. Her steadfast quest for justice is inspirational
http://scc-csc.lexum.com/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/13388/index.do Supreme Court Decision in Wood v. Schaeffer

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the police’s appeal and allowed the Special Investigations Unit cross-appeal. Police in Ontario are no longer able to consult with a lawyer before handing over their police notes to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in cases where police have shot civilians. Justice Moldaver has positively reinforced the Urban Alliance position that in policing, maintaining the public trust is “paramount”. Ultimately, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations believes that better civilian oversight leadership of policing will foster safer communities. UARR was an intervener in this important case and believes that this victory is a step in the right direction for police accountability and civilian oversight leadership of policing in Ontario.

As citizens of Ontario, we are all a little bit safer because of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Wood v. Schaeffer; we expect more honest and accountable service from police. UARR is thrilled with this decision, as it validates our concerns, and helps to bolster support for further interventions as we continue to take a community-based perspective on policing.

We thank lawyers Maureen L. Whelton and Neil Wilson, et. al from Stevensons LLP Barristers for an excellent job in the Supreme Court of Canada Schaeffer Minty intervention on behalf of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. See the Factum of the Intervener Urban Alliance on Race Relations Pursuant to Rules 37 and 42 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada

The full Supreme Court of Canada decision in Wood v. Schaeffer is now posted online at

http://scc-csc.lexum.com/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/13388/index.do

The SCC upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal that the regulation (relating to the Conduct and Duties of Police Officers Respecting Investigations by the Special Investigations Unit) did not permit police officers to seek the assistance of counsel in completing their notes. However, the Court of Appeal had also found that, under the regulation, officers were entitled to receive basic legal advice as to the nature of their rights and obligations regarding the incident and the Special Investigations Unit (“SIU”) investigation before completing their notes. With regard to this aspect, the SCC agreed with the cross-appeal of the Director of the SIU, who argued that police officers are not entitled to legal advice, basic or otherwise, prior to completing their notes.

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