Legal Rights Charter of Rights and Freedoms Law 120
Legal and Equality Rights • Sections 7-14 of Charter • Covers initial investigation of a crime until sentencing of offender • If courts determine rights infringed by police, Crown or other members of Criminal Justice system they may impose remedies • Exclusion of evidence • Dismissing charges
Life, Liberty and Security of the Person • Cannot be deprived of these rights except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. • Seemingly simple right actually complex • Right to life vs abortion (when does life begin?) • Assisted Suicide – Sue Rodriguez – right to die(security of the person) • Right to liberty associated with criminal cases. • Not deprived of this right unless due process (innocent until proven guilty, burden of proof, right to fair hearing) • Right to security – protect people against certain forms of corporal punishment/physical suffering (R v. Morgentaler)
Unreasonable Search and Seizure • Section 8 guarantees that people will not be subject to unreasonable search and seizure • Police must have good reason (probable cause) and search must be conducted fairly (no fishing expeditions) • Some laws give police more power in searches • Controlled Drug and Substances Act allow police the power to search any place (except a residence) where they suspect drugs are concealed without obtaining a warrant beforehand.
Arbitrary Detention or Imprisonment • Section 9 of the Charter • Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned. • People cannot be held for questioning, arrested, or kept in jail by the police without a good reason. • Roadside checks for impaired drivers legal? • Considered to be reasonable limit prescribed by law by the Supreme Court.
Rights When Arrested • Once arrested everyone has certain rights. • Must be informed promptly the reason for arrest (interpretation of the word promptly – generally when the person is arrested) • Accused must be informed of his/her right to legal counsel. If the accused cannot afford, he/she must be advised that legal aid is available. • If you have a job, you generally do not qualify • Does not mean you have a right to a lawyer but to receive legal advice – duty counsel • Once an accused requests to speak to a lawyer, the police must stop questioning the accused until he/she has had the opportunity to confer with counsel.
Rights When Charged • Section 11 of Charter - accused must be charged within a reasonable amount of time. (R v Askov– 3 years for trial) • cannot be forced to testify at his/her own trial • considered innocent until proven guilty • cannot be denied reasonable bail without just cause • Accused cannot be convicted unless the law under which he/she was charged was in force at the time of the offence and specifically stated that the actions were illegal • If charged/tried for an offence and found not guilty, that person cannot be tried for the same charge again. • If someone commits an offence and a new law alters the fine or term of the imprisonment, person must be sentenced by whichever law is more lenient
Cruel & Unusual Treatment or Punishment • Section 12 of Charter – governments must not treat/punish individuals in an unnecessarily harsh fashion • When determining whether an offence is cruel and unusual the Court must consider • The gravity of the offence • The personal characteristics of the offender • The particular circumstances of the case
Rights of Witnesses in Court • Section 13 of Charter – guarantees witnesses giving evidence cannot have their testimony given against them. • Section 14 of Charter – to ensure that persons charged with a criminal offence are given full/fair opportunity to understand the case against them anyone who is hearing impaired or cannot understand/speak the language used in court has the right to an interpreter
Equality Rights • Section 15 of Charter – every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination. • Limitation placed on Section 15 states that the government can put programs in place that would improve the conditions of certain disadvantaged people/groups even if they are seen as discriminatory to the majority. (handicapped parking)