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Blupete's Weekly Commentary

October 18th, 1998.

The Role of The Police:
"Wire Taps."

The interception of private communications is a search within the meaning of s. 8 of the Canadian Charter.1 Indeed, such interceptions have been held to be more intrusive on the privacy of individuals than searches of premises.2 To get a "wire tap" it is necessary for the police to satisfy an officer of the court, under oath, that there exists reasonable and probable grounds that an offence has been committed and that there is evidence to be found.3

Therefore, police, when they want to electronically tap into the private conversations of a citizen, are bound by the same law that governs the search warrant. Overriding the actions of the police in this area is this simple constitutional statement, "Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure." This section, section 8 of the Canadian Charter, has received solid backup from our courts, "This section [s.8] stands as a bulwark against unreasonable state sponsored invasions of an individual's privacy."4

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
  • ________________


    1 Sanelli [1990] 1 S.C.R. 30.

    2 Garofoli, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1421.

    3 Southam, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145.

    4 R. v. Wills (1992), 52 O.A.C. 321.

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    Peter Landry

    October, 1998 (2019)