Matthew Engel v. Detective Bill Allen (Reg. No. 1535) also known as Detective William Allen

(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)


Administrative law.


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Administrative law – Discipline of police officer – Whether Presiding Officer’s correctly found that a strip search conducted by the respondent police officer was an unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority – Test to determine whether a warrantless strip search was reasonable – Meaning of “reasonable and probable grounds” in context of a strip search – Role of police service policy in determining whether a strip search was reasonable.

The respondent police officer and his partner encountered the complainant smoking marijuana in an alley behind a hotel. The complainant was uncooperative and refused a frisk search. He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, taken to a police station, and directed by the respondent to remove his clothing down to his underwear. The complainant complied and the respondent searched the complainant’s clothing. The respondent testified that the purpose of the search was to see if the complainant was in possession of more drugs. The respondent acknowledged that he had no reason to believe that the complainant had more drugs, other than in his experience someone found smoking marihuana might possess more drugs. The complainant was released without being charged. The respondent was charged with the disciplinary offence of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority.