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R v Sinclair, 2011 SCC 40, [2011] 3 SCR 3. (Link)


Sinclair (S) was arrested for the murder of Gary Grise (GG).

He was given one 3 minute phone call to his lawyer upon arrival at the police station. The lawyer was contacted by the police who said he would not be attending any interrogation. S spoke to his lawyer for another 3 minutes.

The police informed S of his rights constantly (i.e. did not have to answer any questions he did not want to) during the interrogation.

S repeatedly asked for the presence of a lawyer during his interrogation(s).

Police lied about finding evidence implicating S in the murder to guide S into a confession or giving incriminating evidence.

Sinclair did not give any incriminating evidence until he was unsure of whether he should reveal incriminating evidence.

S eventually admitted to the murder.

Police placed an undercover officer in cell with S where S admitted to the murder not realizing the individual was an officer.

S attended the scene of the crime to guide the officers in the events that took place.


(1) Does a suspect under arrest have the right to a lawyer to be present during a police interrogation/investigation?

(2) Does a suspect under arrest have the right to reconsultation?


(1) A suspect under arrest does not have the right to a lawyer to be present during a police interrogation/investigation.

(2) A suspect under arrest does have the right to reconsultation in specific circumstances (list is not exhaustive):

(a) New, non-routine procedures, that the advising lawyer would not have expected at the time of the original consultation (i.e. a polygraph, a photo lineup, etc.).
(b) Change in jeopardy (i.e. new charges).
(c) Reason to believe the detainee did not understand his right to counsel.


Appeal allowed and set aside the order for a new trial and restore the conviction.

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