A Canadian Supreme Court ruling came down today that limits access to lawyers for people being questioned by police regarding a criminal case.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a person questioned by police in connection with a criminal case does not have the right to have a lawyer present during the interview. The Supreme Court also said a suspect doesn’t have the right to re-consult with a lawyer midway through an interview, unless the situation in the interview has changed significantly. Finally, the court said a suspect does not have the absolute right to consult with a specific lawyer if that attorney can’t be reached within a reasonable time.
– Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC, Oct 8 2010)
I’m no lawyer, but in the spirit of free speech, I’ll throw in an opinion.
I’m siding with the decision here. I do think suspects have too much access and counsel to “prepare” themselves for questioning by police. Really, if you’re innocent, a little preparation to make sure you say what you need to properly, which isn’t necessarily the “right” thing to say, is all you need. Extensive counseling from lawyers so you don’t incriminate yourself basically alludes just that, even if you’re presumed innocent till proven guilty. That’s an ideal, and we all know humans aren’t ideal people, as much as we strive for it.
But I write this post because I have a practical piece of advice to those worried about this split 5-4 ruling.
Try harder NOT to get arrested.
This ruling will then have no direct significance to them. If they worry about it affecting them indirectly through those they know and/or love, advise them of the same thing. More common sense in the world means less legal system.
I’m not encouraging people to be better criminal while in Canada so as not to get caught. I’m encouraging people to stay within the law in Canada.
Save the tax system some money. Save the yourself some hassle. Save the lawyers some income.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5