Constitutional Protections Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

AuthorSusanne Boucher & Kenneth Landa
Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees:
Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and
Legal protections against unreasonable search and seizure are funda-
mentally important to a free and democratic society. At both common law
and under our constitution, the twin goals of protecting the individual from
unwarranted intrusions by the state and protecting the state and its citizens
against crime require a delicate balancing of interests. This balancing has
shaped the statutory, common law and constitutional framework in which
police investigations and criminal proceedings are conducted. Judicial deci-
sions often make this balancing process explicit. In R. v. Genest, police exe-
cuting a defective search warrant on a house smashed in a door without
warning.2Chief Justice Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada quoted the
following passage from the author Polyviou3summarizing the concerns and
conflicting interests involved in state searches:
1 Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982
(U.K.), 1982, c. 11, s. 8.
2R. v. Genest (1989), 45 C.C.C. (3d) 385 (S.C.C.) [Genest].
3 Polyvios G. Polyviou, Search and Seizure: Constitutional and Common Law (London:
Duckworth, 1982) vii.
chapter 1
Constitutional Protections Against Unreasonable
Search and Seizure

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