Charged for “disturbing the peace” for peacefully sharing views on sidewalk

City of Edmonton v. Malayko (2016)

Charged for “disturbing the peace” for peacefully sharing views on sidewalk

City of Edmonton v. Malayko (2016)

The Justice Centre has helped secure another victory for the rights of an Edmonton man to express his opinions peacefully on a public sidewalk.

On June 3, 2016, “Dale” was peacefully speaking on a street corner in Edmonton when he was ticketed by the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) for allegedly “causing noise that disturbs peace to another” in violation of a bylaw.  As with the case of another client of the Justice Centre previously posted here, Dale was informed that he was not any louder than a guitarist playing nearby or the usual traffic noise. The police nevertheless issued Dale a ticket because, they said, they received a complaint and therefore had to issue a ticket.

The Justice Centre took on Dale’s case, fully prepared for a long court fight if necessary, in order to protect the free expression rights of all Canadians. The charges were stayed by the Crown in October 2016.

The Justice Centre fully supports the existence of noise by-laws, and their enforcement by police.  But using noise-bylaws to silence speech that is not loud but merely unpopular is an abuse of government power that must be challenged and checked.

Following intervention from the Justice Centre, the Crown has now stayed three separate charges laid by EPS against citizens for peacefully expression their opinions in public. The Justice Centre has written a letter to the Chief of Edmonton’s Police Service about the issuance of these tickets, and the current practice of Edmonton police to silence Canadians who wish to express their views peacefully on a public sidewalk.

The ticket was withdrawn by city prosecutors.

In 2020, the Justice Centre is again representing Mr. Malayko in another ticket of this nature.

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