The police executed a warrant for "the dwelling house of Ralph Cardines [sic] and person(s) unknown at 106 Rhodes Avenue, Toronto" to search for cocaine. Chambers, the "person unknown", let the police in at which time they found a plastic bag containing cocaine in Chambers' closet. Her boyfriend, Ralph Cardinas, then came home and was arrested along with the respondent. A further search found a gym bag which Cardenas admitted was his containing a small quantity of cocaine.
At the provincial court the judge quashed the respondent's committal for trial as there was no evidence that she was in possession of the cocaine. The Crown appealed this decision.
- What elements are required to make a finding of possession?
Appeal allowed, order quashing the committal set aside, trial ordered.
In making a finding of Chambers having possession of the cocaine, Martin, writing for the court, used Justice O'Halloran's decision in R v Colvin and Gladue:
The "knowledge and consent" which is an integral element of joint possession in s.5(2) must be related to and read with the definition of "possession" in the previous s.5(1)(b). It follows that "knowledge and consent" cannot exist without the co-existence of some measure of control over the subject-matter. If there is the power to consent there is equally the power to refuse and vice versa. They each signify the existence of some power or authority which is here called control, without which the need for their exercise could not arise or be invoked. The principle of "sufficient reason" applies. For example it would be an irrational act for A to attempt to consent to or refuse B the use of C's motorcar unless A has some measure of control over it.He thus held that Chambers had a measure of control over the cocaine as she had allowed Cardinas to store the cocaine in her room.
Both knowledge and consent, which includes some measure of control, are required to establish possession under the law.