Don't make it harder for police to do job
The Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
CREDIT: Julie Oliver, The Ottawa Citizen J.A. Turner says the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has made it much easier for criminals to hide their illegal activities from police.
Re: A proper limit on police searches, July 29.
I find the logic in this Citizen editorial to be flawed and potentially dangerous. You conclude that "the Supreme Court of Canada, by deciding that a pedestrian's pockets are protected from being poked around in by the police, has found the right balance between ensuring the safety of law-enforcement officers and ensuring the constitutional rights of Canadians." What seems to have been forgotten is the safety of ordinary, law-abiding Canadians and their right to be assured that criminals are kept off the streets.
Philip Mann was discovered to be in possession of marijuana, which seems to be accepted as a harmless and widely used drug. But what if Mr. Mann had been hiding heroin, cocaine or some other very dangerous substance in his kangaroo pouch? This Supreme Court decision will prohibit the police from finding out. Because this criminal activity would therefore be allowed to go undetected, could it not potentially result in addiction and possibly the death of an innocent Canadian who is the ultimate recipient of the drug?
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in its attempt to protect the privacy of innocent people, has also made it much easier for criminals to hide their illegal activities from the police. Not only has this recent decision by the Supreme Court not achieved the balance that is claimed by your editorial, it seems to be just one more step towards making it more difficult for those who we expect to enforce the law to do their jobs. Surely this cannot be considered to be in the best interest of Canadian citizens.
It is interesting that in the same Citizen issue, an article ran with the headline "Crime rate surges 6 per cent." As long as our laws continue to protect the rights of criminals to go undetected, it looks like continued increases are to be expected.
Greely© The Ottawa Citizen 2004