It is important to know the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (commonly referred to as the “ Charter”):
The Supreme Court of Canada and all other Courts in Canada are very mindful of the Charter . The Charter, which came into force on April 17, 1982 flows from the Constitution Act and it guarantees our fundamental rights and freedoms (subject to interpretation from the Supreme Court). There are thirty four (34) sections within the Charter.
For our purposes, the most important sections of the Charter are under Legal Rights:
- Section 7:
- “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice”
- Section 8:
- “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure”
- Section 9:
- “Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned”
- Section 10:
- Everyone has the right on arrest or detention:
- a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore;
b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
- Section 11:
- Any person charged with an offence has the right:
- a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again;
- Section 13:
- “A witness who testifies in any proceeding has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence”.
- Section 14:
- “A party or witness in any other proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter”.
- Section 24:
- (1)Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.
- (2)Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in such a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
All of these sections of the Charter, either individually or combined may be relied upon by you, in front of the Justice of the Peace when your trial takes place.
If you want go to the entire Charter, follow it through this link Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
If you are interested in the Courts interpretation of the Charter and the caselaw that has evolved with respect to the Charter see The Canadian Charter of Rights Decisions Digest.