Legal Word of the Day: “Investigative Detention”


“Investigative Detention” – Police officers may detain an individual if there are reasonable grounds to suspect in all the circumstances that the individual is connected to a particular crime and that the detention is reasonably necessary on an objective view of the circumstances.

Investigative Detention can trigger Charter rights issues under ss. 8, 9, 10(a) and 10(b) and 24(2). Supreme court decisions provide guidance in understanding when an exchange between a police officer and a civilian becomes a detention.

These include:

R. v. Mann, 2004 SCC 52 (CanLII), [2004] 3 SCR 59
Police have a right to detain someone for investigation but do not have the right to search them beyond searching for concealed weapons.

R. v. Grant, 2009 SCC 32 (CanLII), [2009] 2 SCR 353
A detention is defined as suspension of an individual’s liberty by significant physical or psychological restraint, with various factors helping to determine whether there was a psychological detention.

R. v. Suberu, 2009 SCC 33 (CanLII), [2009] 2 SCR 460
Being informed of rights to counsel after arrest or detention means “immediately,” subject to officer safety, limitations prescribed by law and justified under s. 1 of the Charter.

R. v. Nolet, 2010 SCC 24 (CanLII), [2010] 1 SCR 851
Issue: Whether a random stop infringed constitutional rights of truck-driver accused not to be arbitrarily detained.

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