The Colourless World of Mann

(2004) 21 Criminal Reports (6th) 47-57

7 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2016 Last revised: 5 Mar 2016

See all articles by David M Tanovich

David M Tanovich

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law


In R v Mann 2004 SCC 52, the Supreme Court of Canada set out an approach to investigative detentions under sections 8 and 9 of the Charter. The Court held that the police can conduct an investigative detention where they have reasonable suspicion to connect the individual to a recent or ongoing crime. The Court also held that the police can conduct a pat-down where they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is armed. The Court's attempt to regulate these low-visibility encounters was important. However, it missed a critical piece of the story. Like so many of those subjected to investigative detentions in Canada, Mann was Aboriginal. The case provided the Court with an opportunity to explore the relationship between race and race-based suspect descriptions and race and detention under the Charter. This piece attempts to fill in for what is missing from the Supreme Court's analysis and also highlights why it is essential for race and systemic racism to be factored in when thinking about the reasonable suspicion threshold that justifies investigative detentions.

Keywords: Criminal Procedure, Racial Profiling, Aboriginal, Policing, Search and Seizure, Investigative Detention, Canada, Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Suggested Citation

Tanovich, David M, The Colourless World of Mann. (2004) 21 Criminal Reports (6th) 47-57. Available at SSRN:

David M Tanovich (Contact Author)

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
519-253-3000 (ext. 2966) (Phone)


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