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Law.Hut
Law.Hut, Lawyer
Category: Canada Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 7812
Experience:  Lawyer with over 15 years experience, primarily in the areas of family law and criminal law.
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ATTN: "CANADIAN" Criminal Law On May 21st, my husband &

Customer Question

ATTN: "CANADIAN" Criminal Law

On May 21st, my husband & I were walking our dog through a local park; when suddenly I received a text from my husband's cell phone. The text read: "Hey, is this your husband's cell phone?" Thinking my husband must have lost his phone & this person had found it, I anxiously replied: "Yes!" Instead of wanting to make arrangements for us to retrieve it, the person said: "Cool! Haha, I have it, along with other cool stuff I took from your van!"
We immediately panicked, changed course & headed back to the parking lot where we'd parked. We found the van's interior in shambles and several items were missing; including a hand held game system & various games. I sent a text back to my husband's phone; demanding that the person return the items to us or we'd call the police. Instead, the culprit mocked me & bragged about having fun playing all the games.

The police met us at the park & took our statements. I showed an officer the texts between myself & the thief and his advice was to stop responding. We were so upset as my husband keeps all of his important info (dates & appts.) saved in his phone. Getting it back was a MUST; although it seemed like a lost cause after talking to the police.

After a while, the thief sent a sarcastic text; asking me for details on how to complete a level on one of our games. I decided to entertain him a little & respond back - with the hopes of breaking him down & at least getting the phone back. Despite being a thief, this guy seemed to be quite comical. I explained how important the phone was to us & suggested that if he could just leave the phone some place in the park, text us the location & then run off, we didn't care if he kept the games, etc. To my surprise, he actually agreed to do that for us. He said he understood our position & that he was just being mischievous. He had no real ill intentions. He seemed very sincere. I thanked him & told him that if he followed the plan, I would leave $20 in the place where I picked up the phone; which he could go back & retrieve after we drove away. He said he would leave EVERYTHING he'd taken from the van - but he DIDN'T want any cash. He'd had his fun & he was ready to move on. We felt so relieved (and intended to leave the cash anyway; as a thank you). He told me he would head back into the park now; and then quickly text me; once he got to the exact place where he planned to leave our things for us (& then run, not wanting to encounter us face to face). I thanked him & we drove around town; waiting for his "informational" text.

About 45 mins passed & we hadn't heard from him so I sent a text asking how much longer he would be. NO REPLY. I was worried that maybe he'd changed his mind about the plan & was just ignoring me - so after a few mins, I sent another text; this time telling him that I'd have to resort to calling the police if I didn't hear from him right away. Earlier, he'd asked if we'd called the police & I lied and said that I hadn't. STILL NO REPLY. We decided to drive through the park; in case we saw him wandering around. When we pulled in, we saw 2 officers walking through the main lot. We approached them & right away, they told us that they'd apprehended the thief & had taken all of our belongings from him. That's why he'd never responded. We were totally shocked! I started rambling; telling the officers that I'd been texting with him & that he'd intended to return our things to us - but the officer kind of cut me off; like he didn't want to hear it!! He shoved a baggie at us; containing our belongings & gave my husband a paper to sign; indicating he'd received his items back. They were very short with us & seemed like they wanted to get us out of there asap. I asked if we could know the guy's name & the officer responded with, "Absolutely not!" I thought that was strange. They had arrested the guy & put him in the back of their cruiser but we couldn't see what he looked like because it was dark out by then. We drove off; feeling awful. The general assumption between us was that the police wanted this guy for something else and the theft of our things; was something they were intending to use against him as well. It would only make sense that when they caught him, he would have told them he'd been in contact with us & was RETURNING our things. When we showed up & our story MATCHED his, they didn't want to hear it & they arrested him anyway; refusing to give us any info about him; ensuring there was nothing we could do to help him. I didn't like the feeling of helplessness & I feel the police were being unfair.
The next day, we went to the police station, paid a fee & requested the police report; which usually takes a couple of days to receive. We thought there might be info on it that we could use to help him. A week later, we enquired & were told to wait 30 days. After 30 days, we were told to wait 30 BUISNESS days. It's now been 42 days! Isn't this ILLEGAL of them?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Criminal Law
Expert:  Law.Hut replied 1 year ago.
It is in the discretion of the police to lay a criminal charge or not. They can legally do so after a theft even if the thief has ( or is trying to) return the stolen goods. The return does not change the fact that a come had occurred. This charge can proceed whether there is any desire by the victims to proceed or not. So as far as that decision goes, yes that is legal.

You should be aware that it is actually illegal to try and use a threat of going to police to get stolen items returned and also illegal to make an offer such as "no questions asked" on return of stem items.

As to getting a copy of the police report and the name of the offender, if the person is under age 18 the police will not be able to reveal his name. If over age 18 the. His arrest and court charges are public information and there is no reason for the police to refuse such information to you.

As to getting a copy of the police report, that is something that is governed by the policies of individual police departments. There is no right in the criminal code such information being provided to a victim of crime, and most police agencies will not disclose such reports to victims in any circumstances. They may certainly give a copy of a report that a victim made of stolen or damaged property for use in insurance , but this would not usually include any information about the alleged offender. If they are not complying with their own policies your recourse is to make a complaint to the police chief or the board of the police that oversees the agency in your area. The courts would not have the power to order production of the report.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, thank you for your response. To clarify a few details; the request we made for the police report; involved a $5 fee and was submitted via the Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act on Tues. May 21st. The following day, the chief of police signed a letter we received in the mail on Friday, May 24th. The letter states:

May 22, 2013

This will acknowledge receipt of your request and application fee for general information pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (our file #2013/0133)

 

Our Service has 30 days to respond to your request unless other interests, such as third party privacy rights, become an issue, you will be advised accordingly by correspondence about these issues. Please note that your name may be subject to release to any person who is affected by you request.

 

Yours truly,

Jeff Kelner
Chief of Police

 

Please note the letter does not mention 30 BUISNESS DAYS. We weren't told "That" piece of information until we went to the police station and enquired about it after 30 calendar days.

It has now been 30 BUISNESS DAYS & 42 Calendar Days - and still no response. At the time of the initial request, we were told we'd receive a phone call when it was ready for pick up; probably within a week or so. The very next day, they mail out a letter stating 30 days. After 35 days, we went to the police station and enquired. At that time, the receptionist at the front desk, went into the office of the woman in charge of such requests (while we waited at the front) - and when she returned, she said, "It's actually 30 BUISNESS days."

 

In my opinion, that's quite a refined detail to just omit from the letter the police chief mailed out to us; if it's in fact; true. It makes me wonder if the chief is even aware of the "correction" of "Business" Days; they've made.

It also seems very strange to me; that anything would ever take the ENTIRE allotted time - right down to the very last minute. Regardless, I'm just wondering what I can say (or do) within the guidelines of the law; if I'm once again turned away when I go up to the police station today. I have a feeling that will be the outcome as this entire thing has felt 'odd' and a little bit 'off' to me since it happened.

 

Why wouldn't the police want any further details from us; since they were pressing charges? Wouldn't they want "ALL" of the FACTS surrounding the incident? It's not my intention to help the culprit GET AWAY with what he did. However, I believe the punishment/judgement handed out on him should reflect the fact that he DID agree to return the items and clearly had returned to the park (as he'd promised us) in order to follow through with his intention. Certainly, it doesn't excuse his actions in any way, however that has to account for "something."

 

It seems highly UNLIKELY that when this person attends court on this charge, he won't be able to even use that piece of his good intentions to help lesson his charge; without our statement to verify it. The police made it extremely evident that they were not interested in hearing anything more from us. They shoved our items at us and that was that. I'm almost certain they had an 'unrelated' personal vendetta with this guy; which caused them to behave in such a way.

 

You mentioned that the person's name would be protected from the report if he is under the age of 18. While I'm aware of that fact, what I don't understand is - What if they CLAIM (to me) that he "IS" under the age of 18, even if he isn't? How would I ever know for sure; whether or not they are lying?

On a side note; I was an eye witness to a crime a couple of years back and I attended court as such. During the trial, I witnessed 2 different local police officers take the stand, swear on the bible and then flat out LIE to the judge! Call me naïve but I had no idea such a thing could possibly happen! To this day, it horrifies me when I think about it and unfortunately it has caused an unfair dis-trust for officers in me. I know that not all police are like this... but when I see suspicious things happening around me (like this incident with odd behaviour from the arresting officers, and delays & modifications made to waiting periods that were originally given by the police chief, etc.); I can't help but wonder if I'm being "fed" a few lines here and there; if they think I'm uneducated or perhaps gullible enough to just swallow the fabrications they're offering. What can I "SAY" today, if and when they still refuse the report I paid for; that will show them that I've done some research and know my rights within this matter?

 

Thanks

 

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