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4Rules 11-24-2012 19:41

Halifax firearm case goes to Supreme Court of Canada
The case of a man charged with crimes after he opened his Halifax condominium door to police while holding a loaded 9mm Beretta handgun is headed to Canada’s top court...Erin Lee MacDonald, in his early 40s, had originally received a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in jail on the charge...

4Rules 11-24-2012 21:16

Erin Lee MacDonald, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, et al.
SCC Case Information



SCC Case Information



Erin Lee MacDonald, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, et al.

(Nova Scotia) (Criminal) (As of Right / By Leave)

Criminal law.

Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Criminal law Search and seizure Whether the appellant’s s. 8 Charter rights were violated Whether the Court of Appeal erred in making findings of fact not supported by the evidence nor consistent with the findings of fact made by the trial judge.

The appellant, Mr. MacDonald, was convicted of careless handling of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace and possession without authorization of a loaded restricted firearm, contrary to ss. 86, 88 and 95 of the Criminal Code respectively. At trial, the judge essentially accepted the scenario presented by the Crown according to which a rude and intoxicated Mr. MacDonald, while entertaining some friends at his condo in downtown Halifax, was politely and repeatedly asked to turn down the volume of his music, only to finally respond to police at the door by opening it while carrying a loaded restricted firearm. A police struggle over the weapon ensued. On appeal, Mr. MacDonald argued, among other things, that the police conduct that evening constituted an unlawful search contrary to s. 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that the trial judge erred in concluding that the police action was justified in the interests of officer safety. The majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part, but dismissed the ground of appeal relating to unlawful search and seizure. Beveridge J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal, quashed the convictions and directed acquittals on all charges. In his view, the police conduct constituted a very serious breach of Mr. MacDonald’s rights and, despite the reliability of the evidence obtained and the state’s interest in a trial on the merits, the admission of the evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Date Modified: 2012-04-12
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4Rules 01-20-2013 20:22

SCC Case Information



Erin Lee MacDonald, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, et al.

4Rules 01-18-2014 10:58

Supreme Court rules gun owners face penalties for ignorance of law
The Supreme Court of Canada issued a 4-3 decision Friday upholding Erin Lee MacDonald's careless use and dangerous weapon convictions, but also restoring his unlawful possession conviction. The court denied MacDonald a "defence of ignorance of the law" on the unlawful possession charge, and ordered the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal to examine whether the three-year mandatory minimum sentence was constitutional.

4Rules 01-20-2014 23:41

SCOC backs Halifax police in door-pushing case
The court disagreed that Erin Lee MacDonald had been subject to unreasonable search when, in December 2009, police responded to a noise complaint at his condominium at Bishop’s Landing. MacDonald opened his door partway to police, but an officer pushed it open further to get a look at what he was holding behind his leg, according to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision in the case.
Once police realized it was a gun, they rushed inside and subdued MacDonald. He was later convicted on a charge of unauthorized possession of a loaded, restricted firearm, careless use of a firearm and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

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