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Rules pertaining to collection of evidence in place for a reason

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We have previously written about the important role evidence can play in establishing guilt or innocence related to a criminal charge. That evidence must be obtained in accordance with certain rules. Among other things, the evidence collected must not be overbroad. These rules are in place to protect the civil rights of residents of Ontario. Recently, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on a matter of this nature related to the collection of cell phone records.

The case arose out of law enforcement’s effort to collect personal information of cell phone users who were in a specific area when some jewelry stores were robbed. The order the police obtained made it possible for them to collect the following from more than 40,000 people:

  • Names
  • Numbers
  • Addresses
  • Banking details

That order was challenged as a breach of privacy.

The judge agreed that the order was overly broad and ruled the order resulted in a breach of people’s privacy. In addition, it also infringed the portion of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that pertains to unreasonable search and seizure.

The rules regarding the collection of evidence for a criminal trial are in place for a reason and any behavior contrary to those is potentially harmful not only to the individual accused of being involved in the crime, but those who have nothing to do with the alleged crime, as well. For accused individuals, the best course of action is to try to limit the evidence being introduced at trial. A criminal defence lawyer can help with this.

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