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R v Campbell, [1999] 1 SCR 565 (Link)

Facts:

About a narcotics sting operation. Question arose about the legality of the RCMP’s conduct. Crown argued that any illegal conduct should be subject to Crown immunity.

Issue(s):

Can the police operate without accountability for their actions? (What is the relationship between the police and the political executive?)

Ratio:

The police are not to be considered servants or agents of the government while conducting criminal investigations; they are answerable only to the law and cannot access the discretionary powers of the Crown.

Analysis:

The Crown and the RCMP are different
** A police officer investigating a crime is not acting as a government functionary; they occupy a public office defined by the common law and statutes.
** There are times when the RCMP has a closer relationship to the Crown (e.g. ceremonial duties) -- but this is not one of those times.

Para 29: Police are independent of the control of the executive government. Their powers and duties are derived from the law, not from the city or town under which they hold their appointment.

Para 31: Laskin CJ: “we are dealing with the holder of a public office, engaged in duties connected with the maintenance of public order and preservation of the peace”
Para 33: In general, the RCMP and its Commissioner is not to be considered a servant or agent of the government while engaged in a criminal investigation.


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