The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“The Charter”) is a statement of rights that has been a part of the Constitution of Canada since 1982.
It is a very special document because it contains a wide-ranging expression of rights. Because it is a part of the Constitution of Canada, it cannot be changed easily.
It is not an exaggeration to say that it is one of the most comprehensive guarantees of rights in the world. Nations around the globe look to The Charter for guidance as to how to model their human rights documents.
The Charter guarantees certain Legal Rights to all Canadians. Sections 7 – 14 of the Charter contain several of these key rights.
The legal rights sections are very important in criminal matters, where individuals are interacting with the police and the criminal justice system.
For the full text, refer to the Government of Canada Web Site.
s. 8. “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure.”
s. 9. “Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.”
s. 10. On arrest or detention, everyone has the right;
s. 11. Sets out a persons rights when charged with an offence, including, but not limited to:
s.12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment or treatment.
If, in the process of the conduct of a criminal investigation or trial, an accused’s right has been infringed, there may be remedies available. For instance, under section 24 (2) of The Charter, improperly obtained evidence can be excluded if evidence is brought forward to show that its admission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Section 24(1) leaves open the possibility for wide-ranging remedies – “as the court considers just and appropriate in the circumstances.”