When an officer or an individual in uniform suspects you of a criminal offence, he/she has the authority to question you and ask you for an explanation. However, there are a few things that lie outside the jurisdiction of their authority.

None of the uniformed officers is allowed to search and confiscate the personal property of a suspect without a warrant from the court. This act is called unreasonable search and seizure.

According to Canadian law, unreasonable search and seizure are defined as the search and seizure of authorities or by a law enforcement officer without a search warrant or probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is present.

This is not to be confused with evidence of a crime that is placed in plain view. This can include a bag of drugs in the backseat of a car, an authorized gun being used by an individual, or more. Evidence like this does not require a warrant to be seized.

Citizen privacy is secured by the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms. The bill prevents the deprivation of enjoyment of property without due process. Even though the exact word privacy does not appear in the charter, section 7 and section 8 entail residual protection for privacy interests.

Section 8 of the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms was applied in the 1980s. Since then, it has been interpreted as a shield against unjustified state intrusions on personal privacy. Nevertheless, know that the bill does not free the citizens from all searches and seizures.

Purpose Of Canadian Bill of Rights

When we talk about the purpose of the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms, it has been formulated to prevent unjustified searches by the state before they happen. The main aim of the bill is to protect the underlying values of dignity, integrity, and autonomy.

Under the bill, a search and seizure that interferes or affects the privacy of an individual is a violation. However, at this point, it is important to understand that section 8 of the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms only protects people against unjustified intrusions. It does not apply to places.

The protection that is provided by the bill of rights is for personal, territorial, and informational privacy. It basically aims to protect the sphere of individual autonomy. The individual has a right to privacy. They have a personal space on which the state cannot intrude and they have the right to be let alone in it.

For more details on how unreasonable search and seizure work, you Can Contact an attorney who is proficient with the law.
Expectation Of Privacy

The protection that the charter provides from unreasonable search and seizure is based on a reasonable expectation of privacy that is a right of every individual. However, the authorities also have to balance the important social interests along with individual privacy. The prevention and detection of crime cannot be compromised due to the expectation of privacy.

Citizens in Canada have a reasonable expectation of privacy, especially in investigations related to law and enforcement. For those who don’t know, a reasonable expectation of privacy is primarily dependent on a number of factors.

Some of these factors include the place where the search is being conducted, the techniques of the investigation that are used as well as whether the individual in question was present at the scene or not.

At this point, it is important to understand that it does not matter whether the owner of the property and evidence in question was involved in the crime or not. The charter does not hold if there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Analysis Of The Situation

Along with defining the term privacy and unreasonable search and seizure, the charter also explains the steps that should be followed during the analysis of the situation. To ensure that unreasonable search and seizure was conducted, you should ask two questions. These are:

Has there been a search or seizure?
If so, was the search or seizure unreasonable?
To answer these questions, you have to understand how the terms search, and seizure are explained by the law. The definitions according to the law are:

Search: Inspection or any state activity that interferes with a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Seizure: Taking by a public authority without that person’s consent where a person has a reasonable privacy interest in the subject matter.

It is not imperative that the search is conducted by a government organization. Moreover, not every investigation by the government comes under the search and seizure category.

In addition to this, it is important to note down that if the authorities have a warrant for a single search and seizure event, this warrant cannot be used for other purposes. It is not a ticket for all kinds of intrusions.

Search and seizure is only reasonable when it is authorized by law, or the law itself is unreasonable. In other cases, search, and seizure cannot be performed without a warrant.

Author's Bio: 

In this blog, we explain what unreasonable search and seizure is and how the privacy of the citizens involved are protected by the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms.