April 24th, 2024

Supreme Court of Canada to review Good Samaritan drug overdose case

By The Canadian Press on February 22, 2024.

The Supreme Court of Canada will review the case of a man who was arrested for drug and firearm offences after police encountered him at the scene of an overdose. Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin left to right, Justice Nicholas Kasirer, Justice Malcolm Rowe, Justice Andromache Karakatsanis, Chief Justice Richard Wagner, Justice Suzanne Cote, Justice Sheilah Martin, Justice Mahmud Jamal and Justice Mary Moreau are seen during a welcome ceremony at the Supreme Court, in Ottawa, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada will review the case of a man who was arrested for drug and firearm offences after police encountered him at the scene of an overdose.

The top court’s examination is expected to clarify application of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, passed to help reduce deaths from substance use.

Under the law, no one who seeks emergency medical or police assistance can be charged or convicted of simple drug possession if the evidence was discovered because that person sought assistance or stayed at the scene of the emergency.

In September 2020, Paul Eric Wilson was at the scene of a woman’s fentanyl overdose in Vanscoy, Sask.

After police arrived, Wilson was arrested for drug possession and, following a search, he was arrested a second time for drug trafficking and firearm offences.

Wilson’s conviction for several firearm offences was overturned last year by Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal, prompting the Crown to seek a hearing in the Supreme Court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024.

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