Her Majesty the Queen v. Ahmad
Her Majesty the Queen v. Williams
[Indexed as: R. v. Ahmad]
2018 ONCA 534
Court of Appeal for Ontario, Hourigan, D.M. Brown JJ.A. and
Himel J. (ad hoc) June 11, 2018
Criminal law — Defence — Entrapment — Bona fide inquiry — Police
entitled to provide opportunities to sell drugs to persons associated with
phone lines which they reasonably suspect are being used in dial-a-dope
operations even if they lack reasonable suspicion that those individuals
themselves are engaged in criminal activity.
Criminal law — Drug offences — Sentence — Sentence of two years
less a day in jail being fit for busy dial-a-dope trafficker.
W and A were separately charged with drug trafficking offences arising out of
dial-a-dope operations. In W’s case, the police received a tip from a confidential
source that Jay was selling cocaine in a particular area of Toronto. The source
provided “Jay’s” phone number. The police identified W as Jay. It was not clear
how that link was made. W had a prior conviction for possession of a narcotic and
was on bail on drug charges. A police officer called Jay’s number. W answered and
acknowledged that he was Jay. The officer asked, “You around?” and said,
“I need 80”. W replied, “Okay. You have to come to me.” They arranged a meeting.
W asked, “What you want, soft or hard?” The officer purchased crack cocaine from
W. After a second transaction, W was arrested, and the police found a handgun and
ammunition in his clothing. The trial judge found that W was entrapped and
stayed the drug-related charges. He declined to stay firearms and breach of recognizance charges. W was convicted of those offences. The Crown appealed, and
W cross-appealed. In A’s case, a police officer, acting on a tip that an individual by
the name of “Romeo” was selling powder cocaine in a dial-a-dope operation, called
the phone number provided by the tipster. A answered, but did not admit that he
was Romeo. The officer asked, “Can you help me out?” A replied, “What do you
need?” and the officer replied, “Two soft”. They arranged a meeting. After the
officer purchased powder cocaine from A, A was arrested. The trial judge rejected
A’s application for a stay of proceedings on the basis of entrapment, and A was
convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of
proceeds of crime. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years less
a day. A appealed his conviction and sentence.
Held, the Crown’s appeal should be allowed; W’s cross-appeal and A’s appeals
should be dismissed.
Per Hourigan J.A. (D.M. Brown J.A. concurring): Entrapment arises if the police
provide a person with an opportunity to commit an offence without acting either
( i) on a reasonable suspicion that the person is already engaged in criminal
activity, or ( ii) pursuant to a bona fide inquiry. The police did not have a reasonable
suspicion that W and A were already engaged in criminal activity. However, when
the officers provided W and A with an opportunity to sell drugs, they were engaged
in a bona fide inquiry. According to the case law on “bona fide inquiry”, the police
may present an opportunity to commit a crime to people associated with a location
where it is reasonably suspected that criminal activity is taking place, even absent
a reasonable suspicion that those people are already engaged in criminal activity.