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Judge rules broad search and seizure of child porn unwarranted

As is stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadians are legally afforded the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. In other words, you should be able to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In one of our earlier posts, we discussed the matter in relation to a drug crime case that was heard by the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

In a more recent court decision in Ontario, a judge found that Waterloo Regional Police used overzealous tactics to seize evidence against a Kitchener man accused of accessing child pornography. Because the police search was so exhaustive and broad, rather than specific to the videos and images believed to be linked to the defendant, much evidence was excluded from the prosecution's case.

The accused is the founder of a security software company, and the judge wrote that the police search of "every and each file in the accused's vast computer system" was "unwarranted and somewhat egregious."

The 43-year-old defendant admitted that he accessed eight videos of child pornography and other images from a website based in Toronto. That website has been linked by authorities to a worldwide child pornography investigation.

A different judge sentenced the man to 60 days in jail, with the time to be spent on weekends. The man was additionally ordered to seek mental health treatment, avoid contact with children younger than 16, provide a DNA sample for the national database, stay away from public places where children are likely to be, avoid online video gaming and not seek employment that requires the trust of children.

The Crown prosecutor said that, if all of the videos and images seized by police had been admitted as evidence, then the prosecution would likely have sought to impose a jail sentence of one to two years.

You can read more about the case here.

To learn more about defending against criminal charges, please visit our criminal defence website.

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