The Charter rights that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s father worked so hard to enshrine will be erased one amendment at a time. Due process is eliminated through four major amendments in Bill C-75. Key stakeholders such as the Criminal Lawyers’ Association were not consulted about Bill C-75. At least the Conservatives were up front about their criminal law mandate.
The amendment most likely to increase wrongful convictions, is found in s. 657.01(1), admitting “routine police evidence” by way of affidavit. Police officers are agents of the government authorized to enforce our laws. This authority has limits. Enforcement cannot violate our supreme law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, found in Part B of our Constitution Act, or must be an exception that is saved.
I am perplexed at this amendment, particularly when considered in conjunction with eliminating preliminary hearings. The phrase “routine police evidence” is broad enough to cover everything an officer does during an investigation. The government seems to be suggesting that although their agents are permitted to investigate, arrest and detain, they are not required to waste their time in court. Further court delays will be caused as counsel would have to argue that viva voce evidence is required.
Originally published in the Lawyer’s Daily May 22nd, 2018 by LexisNexis Canada.