When police violate the Charter rights of an accused, there is a price to pay. That price, in Chrissy Predham-Newman’s case, is her alleged murderer, her estranged husband, walked out of court a free man.
On January 21, 2007, Chrissy Predham-Newman was found murdered in her apartment, her throat slashed, in her apartment in Airport Heights, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Her estranged husband, Raymond Gerald Newman, was arrested that same night and charged with second-degree murder for Chrissy’s death.
After interviewing Ray Newman, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary drove him back to his parents’ home and his infant daughter. Police seized the keys to his car, told him not to go near it or his home as they intended to obtain search warrants for both.
They posted surveillance units at his vehicle and his home until the search warrants were issued – four days later.
Raymond Newman applied to have all seized items excluded from evidence “because of numerous, deliberate and serious breaches of his Charter rights by the police during the investigation.”
He said police seized his residence and argued the seizure of his property in this manner constituted an unconstitutional search in violation of his Charter Section 8 rights.
In a series of separate rulings, The Honourable Justice James P. Adams ruled in favour of the accused.
In R. v. Newman, 2012 NLTD(G) 151:
I find the Charter breaches to be not merely technical in nature, accidental or minor but flagrant, deliberate and egregious.
I find these Charter breaches constitute a systematic, deliberate and planned disregard by the police of Mr. Newman’s rights designed to obtain incriminatory evidence from him. These breaches were extremely serious, both individually and in concert.
In R. v. Newman, 2012 NLTD(G) 95, Justice Adams ruled in favour of the accused and excluded all evidence seized by police.
 There does not have to be a search for there to have been a seizure. Search, as it is referred to in Section 8, includes any invasion of a reasonable expectation of privacy, whether or not there has been an entry onto the property.
 At the time the police told Mr. Newman he could not go near his house they, by their own admission, had no grounds to detain him. Neither did the police have any grounds to control his use of his property, especially his residence, in which he had a significant expectation of privacy.
 The police took Mr. Newman’s keys to his car and his house (although they apparently didn’t realize the key to the house was on the same ring as that for the car), prevented him from going near his house and posted police security in marked cars outside it to ensure neither he nor anyone else went in from 21 January until 25 January 2007, some four days.
 I am satisfied that on a review of the warrants and the Information to Obtain, and after excising paragraphs and parts of paragraphs of the ITO I have found to be improperly included in it, when read as a whole, the remaining information does not contain sufficient evidence that might reasonably be believed on which a judge could grant the warrant. And even if only those portions of the ITO which the Crown concedes were improperly included were excised, I would come to the same conclusion.
 Though not strictly necessary for my decision, I also find that:
(a) the initial taking control of Mr. Newman’s residence from early on 22 January to 25 January 2007 when the General Warrant was obtained constituted a warrantless search and seizure;
(b) the RNC violated the “one search” rule by entering the applicant’s residence after 25 January 2007, the time authorized by the General Warrant;
(c) the Warrant is invalid on the basis that it left open-ended the time within which the searches permitted by it would have to be completed.
(d) the RNC officers who carried out the searches did so in an unreasonable manner in all of the circumstances in that they could have returned the residence to Mr. Newman at least two days earlier than they did;
(e) the second warrant was not invalid on the ground that it failed to specifically mention the section number of the Criminal Code pursuant to which it was being issued; and
(f) in the circumstances, I find it unnecessary to make a determination whether the subsequent warrants should have specifically listed the items to be seized.
 It follows therefore that the warrants to search the applicant’s residence at K[…] Street, Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador, and to seize items therein are invalid and all items and exhibits seized as a result of the execution of the said warrants were obtained in violation of the applicant’s right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure pursuant to Section 8 of the Charter.
In R. v. Newman, 2012 74066 (NL SC), Justice Adams ruled admitting the evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
 As was stated in R. v. Morelli, 2010 SCC 8,  1 S.C.R. 253, para. 110:
… justice receives a black eye when it turns a blind eye to unconstitutional searches and seizures as a result of unacceptable police conduct or practices.
 This is even more the case when the unlawful search was the accused’s home where he had a high expectation of privacy and even where the evidence is reliable.
 Having considered all the circumstances in light of the three Grant factors and having weighed them in the balance, I find that the administration of justice would be brought into greater disrepute in the eye of a reasonable person fully informed of the facts and the Charter implications by the admission of the evidence from the house search than it would be by the exclusion of the evidence. I, therefore, order that the evidence obtained from the accused’s residence at K[…] Street, Paradise, specifically the hallway stain, the contents of the vacuum and the receipt is excluded.
Leave a Reply