Firearm Possession Charges In Canada: A Guide To Understanding Evidence Collection

May 19, 2023


In Canada, possessing a firearm is considered a serious criminal offence, and the consequences can be severe. A conviction for firearm possession can lead to imprisonment, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can affect an individual’s life in numerous ways.

If you are facing firearm possession charges, it’s crucial to understand the legal process and the evidence collection that will be presented in court. This blog post aims to provide a thorough guide that will assist you in understanding how evidence is collected in cases pertaining to the possession of firearms in Canada. We’ll look at the types of evidence commonly collected, the challenges that can arise during the evidence collection process, and the strategies experienced criminal defence lawyers use to defend their clients.

The Legal Framework For Firearm Possession Charges

The Criminal Code of Canada sets out the legal framework for firearm possession charges in Canada. Under sections 91, 92, 95, 96, and 117 of the Criminal Code, possessing a firearm without a valid license and registration certificate is illegal. There are also restrictions on the types of weapons that can be owned. Individuals with a history of criminal activity or mental illness may be prohibited from possessing firearms.

The legal process for firearm possession charges in Canada typically involves an investigation by law enforcement, followed by charges being laid and a trial in court. During the trial, the Crown prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had a firearm without a valid license and registration certificate.

Evidence Collection In Firearm Possession Cases

Data collection in firearm possession cases is a complex process requiring careful attention to detail. The types of evidence that may be collected include physical evidence such as firearms and ammunition, witness statements, and expert testimony.

In a notable case where a vehicle pull-over was conducted, resulting in the discovery of a loaded handgun, the accused was charged with unlawful possession of a loaded firearm.

The accused retained the services of criminal defence lawyer Daryl Royer to handle the case. Through his expert legal representation, Mr. Royer was able to conduct the trial, including cross-examination of police witnesses, and successfully argue that the vehicle pull-over and subsequent search were arbitrary and unlawful.

During the trial, Mr. Royer argued that the police officers had no grounds to search the motor vehicle and that the evidence should be excluded. He pointed out that the officers did not even seriously suggest that they had grounds to search the vehicle and had simply decided to search. In the end, Mr. Royer’s arguments were successful, and the evidence was excluded from the trial.

Read More: Vehicle Pullovers and Searches Charter Issue Section 9 and 8

Common Types Of Evidence Presented In Firearm Possession Cases

As mentioned earlier, the evidence presented in firearm possession cases can include physical evidence such as firearms and ammunition, witness statements, and expert testimony. In addition, other types of evidence may consist of surveillance footage, forensic analysis of the firearm, and records related to the ownership and registration of the firearm.

Expert testimony can be significant in firearm possession cases, as it can provide a scientific basis for the charges. For example, an expert may be called to testify about the make and model of the firearm in question or to provide an analysis of ballistics evidence.

Also Read: Building A Strong Defence Strategy: How A Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Help

Challenges In Evidence Collection And How To Address Them

Several challenges can arise during evidence collection in firearm possession cases. For example, there may be issues with how the evidence was collected or preserved, or there may be questions about the reliability or admissibility of the evidence.

One common challenge is establishing a clear chain of custody for physical evidence. This involves documenting the movement and handling of the evidence from when it is collected to when it is presented in court. Any breaks in the chain of custody can raise questions about the reliability of the evidence and may lead to it being excluded from the trial.

About Daryl Royer

Mr. Royer is an Edmonton-based criminal defence lawyer who has handled cases in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. He has dealt with cases in numerous provinces and has had five Supreme Court appearances. Learn more about Daryl Royer and his criminal defence services.

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