In many ways, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is analogous to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, when it comes to excluding evidence at criminal trials. If you have been charged with a crime in Calgary, Alberta, and there has been some indication that one or more of your rights under the Charter have been breached, you may be able to have the questionable evidence excluded at trial.
This may include evidence of questionable police conduct.
If you have been charged with a crime in Calgary, the penalties upon conviction can be significant. The knowledgeable criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence can review your case with you and may be able to petition to have harmful and prejudicial evidence in your criminal case excluded at trial.
Moving to Exclude Evidence
Pursuant to Section 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an applicant can make a motion with the court to have certain evidence excluded from trial in a criminal case. Specifically, the Charter states that:
Where . . . a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, giving regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
In the case of R v. Grant, 2009 SCC 32, the Supreme Court of Canada established three avenues of inquiry that a court may consider when it comes to excluding evidence in a criminal case. Specifically, the court must balance the effect of admitting the evidence with society’s confidence in the justice system vis-à-vis:
- The seriousness of the Charter-infringing state conduct
- The impact of the breach on the Charter-protected interests of the accused
- Society’s interest in adjudicating the criminal case on the merits at trial
When deciding whether or not to exclude a certain piece of evidence at a criminal case, the court’s job is to consider the “totality of circumstances” in the case and to “balance the assessments” under each of these inquiries. In other words, the court must consider whether, under all of the circumstances considered together, admission of the questionable evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Moreover, the court’s analysis should be objective and should ask “whether a reasonable person, informed of all relevant circumstances and the values underlying the Charter, would conclude that the admission of the evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”
Contact a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you have been charged with a crime in Calgary, Alberta, you may be subject to serious penalties upon conviction for your crime. Criminal penalties, which may include hefty fines and jail time, have the potential to impact every aspect of your life. The criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence have the legal knowledge and skills to assist you by defending your criminal case to the fullest. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please call us today at 403-474-4143 or contact us online.