Case Report – Alta. C.A. says “chewing gum survey” does not cause an unreasonable search

On May 11th, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that a defendant abandoned an expectation of privacy in his DNA by depositing chewing gum into a paper cup provided by an undercover officer who had asked him to participate in a “gum survey.” It rejected the defendant’s argument that spitting something out into a receptacle (as opposed to an environment that would promote anonymity) did not demonstrate abandonment. (Wouldn’t the opposite be true?) It also held that the police set up was neither a trick that warranted sanction nor was it an act that affected the Crown’s abandonment claim: “The act of the officer holding out the Dixie cup did not cause the appellant to discard the gum; it merely provided an opportunity for the police to collect it.”

R. v. Delaa, 2009 ABCA 179 (CanLII).


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