Unlawful Arrest

Unlawful Arrest

Unlawful arrest is a very terrifying act for the person who is arrested. The terrifying experience of being detained is exacerbated by the realization that you have done nothing wrong at all. In Ontario, it is possible to be falsely or unlawfully arrested, which is a frightening experience for everyone. What is an unlawful arrest? and everything you need to know about it will be discussed in this article.

This article will examine your rights in the event of an unlawful arrest and what happens if you are the victim of a false arrest.

What is Unlawful Arrest?

It’s called a false arrest when someone is detained without a valid reason. It would be an illegal arrest if someone were to take you into custody without a warrant. In the same vein, law enforcement cannot arbitrarily detain anyone. This implies that they cannot lawfully arrest you unless they obtain a warrant for your arrest or reasonable cause.

In certain situations, an arrest is nonetheless illegal even with a warrant. An unauthorized arrest may occur if the warrant fails to accurately identify the suspect or the crime, does not specify which court issued it, or was obtained by the police lying to the judge.

What Constitutes an Arbitrary or Unlawful Arrest?

An arrest that is made in violation of the local national law is considered unlawful under this guide. A valid arrest occurs when:

It is legally justifiable; and

Everything is done the right way.

Arrests made arbitrarily have a wider definition. It includes arrests that are not just illegal but also those that go against human rights norms. This implies that local courts could not view an arbitrary arrest as illegal.

Outlining Justifiable Rationale

To make a legal arrest, the police need to have good reason to do so. The following are justifiable reasons to make an arrest:

  • A police officer has witnessed someone breaking the law in person.
  • A police officer has good reason to believe someone has committed or is about to commit a crime.
  • If someone violates the law and then declines to give their name
  • Sname,ne has disturbed the quiet.
  • Intoxication in public
  • If an officer has good reason to suspect someone is a terrorist or is going to commit a terrorist act, they can act accordingly.

If I’m Arrested, What Rights Do I Have?

The reason for an arrest must be disclosed to the person by the police.

Although they don’t have to do this right away, they must inform you of the reason as soon as they can to avoid having the arrest declared illegal.

Every time an arrest is made, the subject of the arrest always has the following rights due to existing Human Rights laws:

  • Be handled with compassion
  • Show them the written codes that regulate their rights and treatment with dignity.
  • Consult with the custody officer, who is in charge of ensuring their well-being.
  • Notify someone of their arrest, even if they might not be permitted to call the police themselves.
  • Seek private legal counsel and speak with a solicitor.
  • You must document any denials of the aforementioned requests in your custody record.

The police can only hold you for up to 24 hours if you are arrested. For a more serious offense that warrants an arrest, this is extended to 36 hours.

It is crucial to confirm that the custody record accurately reflects the moment of your arrest.

Unlawful Arrest Examples

Below is a list of some instances of unauthorized arrest:

  • Arrest without a valid reason
  • Arrest in lieu, sometimes referred to as an arrest of the incorrect person, is forbidden by Section 7 of the ACJA.
  • Arrests motivated by hate or self-interest
  • Arrest made using an arrest warrant that was acquired using fraudulent information that a police officer provided to the judge
  • Arrest made without adhering to the established protocol
  • Arrest made in violation of Section 6(2) of the ACJA by failing to mention the rights of the prospective arrestee
  • Arrest made without providing them with the reason behind the suspect’s arrest

The defendant in Christie & others v. Leachinsky (1947) 1 Al ER 567 was taken into custody without being informed of the grounds for his detention. The defendant was not told the reason for his detention by the police, even though they had a good basis to accuse him of stealing a bale of cloth, which is a crime for which the officers may have properly arrested him. “Under ordinary circumstances, the police should tell a person the reason for his arrest at the time they make the arrest,” the court ruled, holding that the arrest was illegal. A person has the right to know why their freedom is being restricted if it is happening. As stated in Sections 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act and 6 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015), the only exceptions are when that individual is committing the offense or flees from lawful custody.

Types Of Unlawful Arrest

Arrest Without Justification

The individual being arrested is always deprived of their freedom during an arrest. However, if this restriction of freedom falls within the purview of police arrest powers, it will be legal under national law.

The national legislation of your country will specify the police’s powers of arrest, or when they are permitted to make an arrest. This is frequently found in laws governing police activity or in rules governing criminal proceedings.

Generally speaking, police can make an arrest when:

The police possess a “warrant.”

Example: Nigeria’s Police Act, Section 24, Authorization to Arrest Without a Warrant

(1) In addition to the authority to arrest without a warrant granted to police officers by section 10 of the Criminal Procedure Act, any police officer may arrest without a warrant under the following circumstances:

(a) any individual whom he discovers engaging in any criminal activity, misdemeanor, or simple offense, or whom he has a reasonable suspicion has engaged in, or is about to engage in, any of these activities;

(b) any person whom any other person charged with having committed a felony or misdemeanor;

(c) Any individual who someone else: (i) believes has committed a crime or misdemeanor; or (ii) accuses of committing a simple offense, provided that person is prepared to go with the police officer to the station and sign a recognizance to prosecute the accusation.

In all countries save the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Myanmar, you have the right to know why you were detained at the moment of your detention or not long after. The arrest is illegal if the arresting officer refuses to provide a basis for the arrest or cannot explain why they are making the arrest. It could be the case that you were detained without cause.

2.  Arrest Without Following the Proper Procedure

The police must adhere to procedural safeguards even in cases where there are valid reasons for an arrest.

The following are common procedural precautions that must be maintained before, during, and after an arrest has been made:

  • Letting the individual being arrested know why they are being detained at the moment of their arrest;
  • Notifying the individual of any accusations brought against them;
  • Ensuring that a person who has been detained is quickly brought before a court;
  • It is necessary to document the arrest and inform the individual who was taken into custody.
  • Making certain that the information is given in a language that the detained individual can comprehend;
  • Ensuring that the person in custody has access to legal counsel; and
  • Notifying a friend or family member of the arrest

Example: Article 33 of the Constitution of Bangladesh

“No one who is arrested may be held in custody without being promptly informed of the reasons for the arrest, nor may he be refused the opportunity to consult with and be represented by a lawyer of his choosing.”


In Canada, What Is an Unlawful Arrest?

In Canada, an arrest that is made without a warrant or without following the correct processes is considered unlawful. Anyone who has been arrested has the right, as guaranteed by Section 10 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to promptly be notified of the reason for their arrest.

In Law, What Is Arbitrary?

An arbitrary definition of legislation explains choices or actions that are mostly based on opinions rather than on well-established facts. Arbitrary rulings are neither based on known facts or circumstances nor do they take into account recognized legal precedent.

False Imprisonment: What Is It?

When someone restrains another person and places them in a confined space, that person has committed false imprisonment. Both criminal and tort laws can be used to punish false incarceration.


Any constraint or imprisonment of another person without a valid arrest warrant or probable cause by someone acting by their claimed legal authority to uphold the law is considered a false arrest. wrongful incarceration, another name for wrongful arrest, is typically regarded as a misdemeanor. Certain jurisdictions retain a distinction between false arrest and false incarceration, stating that the arresting party must have asserted their legal authority to be charged with false arrest. In some nations, any unlawful restraint—whether or not a claim of authority accompanies it—is deemed to constitute false imprisonment. 

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