Ontario Court Justice Jill Copeland dismissed a drinking with excess blood alcohol charge that was laid on a Sikh Man. The charges were dismissed due to the fact Peel Regional Police Officers failed to return the individual's turban for more than three hours which is considered a religious item.
The Sikh man was pulled over in a ride check during the process of him being arrested. His Turban fell off as he was being placed into the cruiser. This constituted a charter breach while he was in custody. The Judge in the decision also stated that the police breached the right to freedom of religion.
Peel Police policy states that a Turban cannot be returned if a prisoner is suicidal or if the prisoner cannot be monitored. Justice Copeland took that policy into account and stated that none of those concerns were at issue in this case.
Peel chief Jennifer Evans commented that a review was ordered in the officer's actions and since 2012 there has been a directive in place regarding proper search and handling of religious items. Evans also stated since the incident, they are making sure Police officer's are aware of the directive so this mistake does not occur again.
Justice Copeland in her sentencing stated though the removal of the Turban was a accident, it should have been returned immediately. She stated a detainee should not have to ask for his turban back as police officer's are aware it is a religious item and agrees the Sikh man detained felt vulnerable and ashamed thus dismissed the charge.