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Blupete's Weekly Commentary

October 4th, 1998.

The Police
And A Citizen's Rights.

The role of the police constable is to enforce the law so to achieve public order and safety. The police of a country is but a department of government which has for its object "the maintenance of the internal peace and prevention of crimes, the protection of public order and public health." Any one of us might enforce the law should we be able to comprehend it and catch the criminal in the very act. Enforcement would extend usually only to the point of stopping the criminal action and to hold the suspected criminal until he might be dealt with by a court of law which will determine if the person charged with the crime is guilty of that crime. The police do the same thing as any citizen might be able to do; but, in addition, a duly authorized police officer may stop a citizen where he has a reasonable belief that a crime has been or is being committed (I repeat: a power not available to a regular citizen). Another function of the police is to detect crime. The police are obliged, as we are all to act according to the law (The Rule of Law). Police activities, unless carefully carried out by thinking and informed persons (the police themselves and not the politicians) can lead to an infringement of a person rights as described by a country's constitution or natural law.

Thus we are led to an examination of certain of the provisions of the Canadian constitution (the Charter) which exist to protect the citizen against abuses which may occur or evolve, intentionally or unintentionally, in the police or criminal court system. I set forth sections 11, 9 and 8:

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 law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(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; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.


9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.


8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

For more, see the following commentaries:
  • The Police and A Citizen's Rights - October 4th, 1998
  • The Police and The Search Warrant - October 11th, 1998
  • The Police and Wire Taps - October 18th, 1998
  • The Police and Police Checks - October 25th, 1998
  • The Police and Entrapment - November 1st, 1998
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    Peter Landry

    October, 1998 (2019)