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Unreasonable Search And Seizure

Video Transcript

I want to talk to you today about one of our fundamental rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and this is section 8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. What does that mean? Well, it means this simply, the police cannot search you unless they have reasonable probable grounds in most situations. That’s the general rule. There’s a lot of deviations from that rule. So what does reasonable probable grounds mean? Essentially, for example, let’s talk about a house. To come into a house by the way, the police need reasonable probable grounds outlined in a search warrant to enter a home. If they don’t, for example, they go to a justice of peace and the justice of peace reviews the affidavit of the officer, setting out their grounds and the justice of peace might say, “There’s not a sufficient grounds here, I’m not gonna issue a search warrant”. That if the justice of peace understands the law well and understands that that affidavit doesn’t provide grounds, they should not issue a search warrant. Now, let’s say that the justice of peace makes a mistake and there’s not sufficient grounds, those grounds can be attacked in court. It’s called a section 8 charter application and what you’d be doing, defense lawyers say there’s drugs found on the household, you’d be bringing a charter application under section 8 to exclude that evidence, arguing: “look, there were not sufficient grounds at home”. The only thing the police had was an informant’s tip, for example, that was not verified for anything, by anything. It was an unreliable informant, that’s just one example. There’s so many examples of this in every context, border searches, by the way the level of reasonable grounds is more reasonable suspicion by the board, it’s much more longer than level task. But let’s say you come up with someone on the street, the police just can’t search the person. They need grounds to search that person. There’s a lot of cases under this topic. A good defense can review your particular situation once she or he receives disclosure and figure out were there sufficient grounds, can we attack that search warrant, can we attack the search, can we win your case and when you think about it there’s so many situations in community law or contrabands found on someone or drugs were found on someone when we enter a household. This is such an important fundamental right. The police just can’t break into your homes without proper grounds and if they do, you are entitled to attack that in court as not being reasonable. We enjoy that great right in our great democratic country. So if you are facing this situation, you’ve been charged and something has been found on you, make sure that you hire or retain a competent criminal lawyer to review those grounds to see if you have a defense and can win your case under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom to exclude the evidence and that exclusion section is Section 24.2. That’s one of our most important rights in a Canadian society, frankly, is the right to be secure in our own homes and to be secure out in the streets.
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