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General Principles


In circumstances where confidential informant information is at issue, the factors apply. One must weigh whether the informant was credible, whether the information predicting the commission of a criminal offence was compelling, and whether the information was corroborated by police investigation. The totality of the circumstances must meet the standard of reasonableness: R v Dhillion, 2016 ONCA 308 at para 30

Debot Factor #1: Credibility

Factors tending to show that the credibility of the informant(s) is weak:

  • Where the CI is untested.

  • Where the CI is said to be reliable and accurate, but no support is given for this assessment.

  • The lack of information about whether the CI has a criminal record - especially when s/he is described as being deeply entrenched in the criminal sub-culture: Dhillion, at para 31

  • Factors tending to enhance credibility.

  • The fact that the police know the informants and they are not anonymous tipsters. 

  • The fact that the informants are informed of the potential criminal consequences if they lied or embellished the information they provided: Dhillion at para 32

Where the police rely on an untried informant, “the quality of the information and corroborative evidence may have to be such as to compensate for the inability to assess the credibility of the source": Dhillion at para 33 (citation to Debot)

Debot Factor #2: Compellibility

Factors tending to show that the information is compelling. The information is fairly detailed and specific (e.g., it describes various personal characteristics of the respondent, the types of drugs being trafficked, where the transactions occurred, and how they were carried out, as well as the target's precise address).

The fact that the CI knew the targt personally (e.g., as a customer) and therefore have first-hand knowledge. This relationship helps to alleviate the concern that they were just perpetuating rumours or gossip: Dhillion at paras 34-35

Debot Factor #3: Corroboration

Factors tending to support corroboration of the information:

  • The consistency of information from several informants. This is distinguishable from circumstances in which there is only one anonymous or untried informant.

  • Where police confirm the accuracy of specific information during their investigation (e.g., the target's name, the colour, make, and age of the his vehicle; the target's ethnicity, address, his approximate age, his criminal record, and the criminal activity alleged). 

Note, there is no need to confirm the very criminality of the information given by the tipster, but there must be more than corroboration of innocent or commonplace conduct when the police are relying on an untested informant. Corroboration must be such so as to remove the possibility of innocent coincidence: Dhillion at paras 39-44

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