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Landmark Case: Negligent Investigation, Malicious Prosecution, and Racial Profiling – Hill v. Hamilton-Wentworth Police

Each OJEN Landmark Case includes a case summary, classroom discussion questions and worksheets that encourage students to explore both the legal and societal importance of the case.

In late 1994 and early 1995, there were 10 robberies of banks, trust companies, and credit unions in Hamilton, Ontario. Police charged Jason Ricardo Hill, an Aboriginal man, with committing the robberies. During their investigation, the police released Mr. Hill’s photo to the media and also asked witnessed to identify the robber from a photo line-up of 12 people. Of the 12 people in the photo line-up, Mr. Hill was the only Aboriginal person.

The witnesses, who reported that the robber was Hispanic, picked out Mr. Hill from the photo line-up. After being acquitted of the robbery charge, Mr. Hill took legal action against the Hamilton-Wentworth Police, alleging the torts of malicious prosecution and negligence in procedures relating to the photo line-up, as well as breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The full decision is available here.

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