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London police search backpack, home in crackdown on drugs

According to Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all Canadians have "the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure." While this seems relatively straightforward, the Supreme Court has heard many cases that carefully define what this right means, but it typically means that police cannot search through an individual's things if it would violate his or her reasonable expectation of privacy. If there would be a violation, police typically need to present evidence and apply for a search warrant before being allowed to search.

If police fail to comply with this fundamental right, or if the search warrant is defective, evidence gathered in the search cannot be used against the individual at trial. Proving a violation of the right against unreasonable search and seizure, however, requires a skilled and experienced criminal defence lawyer.

In the case of three London men, their lawyers may wish to investigate whether the searches that led to their arrests complied with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The three men were stopped while driving near the intersection of Hamilton Road and Highbury Avenue in London, yet it is not entirely clear why members of the drugs and guns unit stopped the vehicle. Once it was stopped, however, officers searched through a backpack in the car before proceeding to a home on Osgoode Drive. 

Police claim to have found slightly over 1 kilogram of cocaine, 1.8 kilograms of marijuana and guns. If the criminal defence lawyers can show that the police violated the defendants' rights, however, none of the confiscated materials can be introduced into evidence, making the Crown's case nearly impossible to prove.

Source: CTV News, "London police seize gun and $120K of drugs and cash," 3 Oct. 2013

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