Lenience sought for gun-toting man unconstitutionally stopped by Windsor police

The lawyer for a man who was found to be carrying a handgun and drugs in Windsor says his sentence should be mitigated because his Charter rights were violated.

Omar Muhammad Omar, 22, is facing potentially five years in prison on the offences of carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm while prohibited (two counts), careless storage of a firearm, and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

During the early morning hours of Nov. 19, 2015, Omar and another man were stopped by Windsor police near Richmond Street and Walker Road.

A search of Omar uncovered a loaded antique-style .32-calibre revolver, extra ammunition, and eight grams of cocaine.

Shortly after the arrest, Windsor police held it up as an example of why they disagreed with Ontario’s prohibition on street checks, arguing that the arrest couldn’t have happened under the new regulations for police-public interactions.

At the Superior Court of Justice on Friday, Omar’s lawyer Patricia Brown pointed out that one of the arresting officers admitted in open court he had no reason for stopping Omar.

As well, Justice Pamela Hebner determined that Omar’s rights were breached under the sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms concerning freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and right to legal counsel.

However, Hebner ruled that the guns, ammunition, and drugs found on Omar should still be entered into evidence.

Omar admitted on the stand that he was a cocaine user, and he came to Windsor via train while armed with the gun.

But Omar said he only obtained the weapon because he was the victim of a stabbing earlier that year and he felt “afraid for my life.”

Omar has remained in custody since his arrest. The court heard that during his time at the South West Detention Centre, he was segregated for misconduct that included having contraband, refusing to return to his cell, and trying to start a fight between two other inmates.

The court also heard that Omar has corresponded with inmates who have known gang affiliations.

But Brown argued that the Charter breaches should be a factor in Omar’s sentencing. She is requesting a jail term of two years less a day.

According to the Crown, Omar has already spent 525 days in custody. With two-for-one credit for time served, that means Omar would be free under Brown’s sentencing recommendation.

Brown said her client plans on living with his mother in Mississauga, where he will enrol at Sheridan College and seek counselling.

“He needs help,” Brown told the court. “He’s ready to move forward to a new life.”

Brown also asked for an extension of the time allowance for Omar to pay the mandatory victim fine surcharge — a total of $1,000 — due to Omar being on social assistance and having “very limited means.”

Hebner is expected to sentence Omar at a future court date.