New trial ordered for teen caught with bear spray in pants
Appeal court overturns acquittal on concealed weapon charge
Saskatchewan's highest court has overturned the acquittal of a Prince Albert teenager caught with a can of bear spray in his pants.
The Court of Appeal case was made public this week on the Canlii online database.
Court heart that on April 5, 2010, Prince Albert police were called after a taxi cab driver was assaulted with a knife and bear spray.
Police cordoned off the area and located the teen and two other youths.
A police officer said the teen was observed stuffing something down the front of his pants. He was searched and a can of bear spray was found.
He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
The case went through three levels of the court system and was considered by five judges.
One judge acquitted the teen, saying the can labelled "bear spray" was empty and therefore wasn't a weapon.
The second judge said the first judge erred in saying the pressurized canister was empty — it wasn't. However, the second judge also agreed to acquit, saying the Crown never proved the material inside the can really was bear spray.
Then a three-judge panel of the appeal court heard the case. It said the second judge erred in not considering all the evidence.
The appeal court noted that when police asked the teen why he had bear spray, he didn't deny he had it, saying it was for his protection.
The appeal court overturned the acquittal and ordered a new trial.