Ottawa police officers may have violated the Charter rights of a man on trial for assaulting a 14-year-old girl when they gleaned potentially incriminating evidence from him before placing him under arrest, according to defence lawyer Alan Brass.
When police asked Hassan Jabar Majli, 37, what he was doing at the Carlingwood YMCA on June 11, 2010, he first said he was there with his 12-year-old son.
He then volunteered information that confirmed to police that he was the suspect they were looking for after a 14-year-old girl complained she was stalked and “cornered” by a man who brushed her hair in a sexually suggestive manner while telling the young girl she was pretty.
Sexual assault charges were later reduced to simple assault.
After being escorted out of the building by two uniformed officers, Majli voluntarily told Const. Carl Keenan that he had spoken with a young girl earlier in the evening.
“I was just talking to her, asking for her (phone) number and she said, ‘What is wrong with you?’ and then walked away,” Majli told police, according to Keenan’s testimony on Tuesday.
Brass said that statement gave police reasonable grounds to arrest Majli, but argued there is no way to prove the information was provided free from “oppressive conditions.”
“Asking (Majli’s) name is one thing,” said Brass. “But those questions can be seen as ferreting out information.”
Justice Heather Perkins-McVey said, “I have no evidence that suggests the accused felt oppressed.”
But according to Brass, the fact there are discrepancies in the notes of two constables “calls into question the completeness and thoroughness of the record.”
“In order to determine whether there were oppressive conditions, one must have a complete record,” Brass argued.
Const. Troy Forgie testified a YMCA clerk who had initially called police on behalf of the young girl pointed out Majli standing on the deck of the swimming pool when he and Const. Keenan first arrived on scene around 8:30 p.m.
Majli — a thickset and balding man of Middle Eastern descent — fit the suspect description “right down to the mole on his nose.”
Forgie asked for identification, then left to consult with another officer who was speaking with the young girl, who was “shaking and crying” in her mother’s car around the corner.
Officers then determined they had reasonble grounds to arrest Majli, who had previously served two months house arrest for a 2007 sexual assault while still a cab driver.
The case was adjourned until June 8.