On The Wire

Trends in Wiretap Law: Part Three

In the second part of this series of posts on trends in wiretap law I concluded by saying there were judicial limitations on the ability of defendants to challenge the admissibility of wiretap evidence in court. I will pick up that discussion here. First, if you are following this series ...
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Trends in Wiretap Law: Part Two

In the first part of this series of posts on trends in wiretap law I said that over the last thirty years there has been an expansion of state intrusion into the personal sphere of the individual that is vivid in the context of electronic surveillance. I will talk about ...
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Trends in Wiretap Law: Part One

Canadians value their privacy both individually and collectively. We may not protect our privacy like my parents did in a social sense and we have surrendered much to the surveillance camera but in 1982 the nation found the political will to patriate its constitution and entrench our rights in it ...
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The Exclusionary Rule

In 1974 Parliament enacted Part IV.1 [now Part VI] of the Criminal Code known as the Protection of Privacy Act. 1 The legislation was a response to wiretapping by the police that was unsupervised by Parliament or the judiciary. 2 The exclusionary rule was contained in s. 178.16(1) of the Act ...
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Police Must Get Wiretap Order to Seize Text Messages

In an important ruling released on March 27, 2013,  the Supreme Court of Canada held that text messages are private communications that are protected by Part VI of the Criminal Code. In a case reported as R. v. Telus Communications Co., 2013 SCC 16 the police wanted to seize text ...
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Supreme Court Clarifies the Law of Police Safety Searches

In an important judgment released on January 17, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada clarified the constitutional requirements of police searches conducted to ensure the safety of the police or the public. In R. v. MacDonald, 2014 SCC 3 two police officers had gone to the appellant's Halifax condo as ...
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Judge Throws Out Prosecutors’ Applications in Wiretap Case

The four defendants in a wiretap case I have before Justice Brian R. Burrows in the Court of Queen's Bench, at Edmonton, brought evidence suppression motions regarding historic text messages seized by the police from a telephone service provider. The Crown Attorneys brought counter applications for declarations that the defendants' ...
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Wiretap Limitations

In 1979 five men and a woman were charged with conspiracy to traffic marijuana in Edmonton, Alberta. Wiretap evidence was new and central to the state’s case. I had been practicing in Alberta for only two years. The closest I had come to a wiretap was watching Francis Ford Coppola’s ...
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Welcome To: On The Wire

On The Wire is a forum for opinion about the Charter of Rights and the criminal law with an emphasis on privacy issues. Although I am a wiretap lawyer my practice is not restricted to wiretap cases. I am first a criminal lawyer. My practice and experience include other types ...
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