Legal Studies 3080

Check Your Knowledge

The following questions will help you determine your understanding of the previous section. Work through the questions, compare your answers with the suggested answers.

Teacher's Note
         Remember, contact your teacher if you have any questions about the course and the material.        


A police officer cannot apprehend people merely because they look or act suspicious. What conditions must exist before an officer can take action of this sort?

Suggested Answer: A police officer must have "reasonable grounds" to believe that the person being apprehended has committed an indictable offence, is committing an indictable or a summary conviction offence, or is about to commit an indictable offence. Of course, at times there can be a dispute over just what constitutes "reasonable grounds".

A police officer catches someone in the process of breaking into a home. When she tries to arrest him, he pushes her over and runs down the street. The officer draws her gun and calls out that she will shoot if the suspect does not stop. When he fails to stop, she shoots him in the back, killing him. Would the courts consider this use of force excessive considering the circumstances? Why or why not?

Suggested Answer: It is likely that the courts would find this use of force excessive. It is true that the suspect had been caught committing an offence and that he was fleeing to escape arrest. However, there was no serious threat of harm to anyone at the time, and less violent means of stopping him were likely available - such as giving chase on foot. A police officer who deliberately shot and killed someone who was likely unarmed and fleeing down a street (where there were presumably innocent bystanders) from a non-violent crime would have a good deal to answer for.