Thursday, July 11, 2013

Charter values and exclusion of evidence

R. v. Akpalialuk, 2013 NUCJ 12 has a powerful statement of Charter values:

[79] All citizens have a profound interest to ensure that the legal rights fundamental to a free and democratic society are preserved and protected.

[80] The Charter ensures that our legal rights and fundamental freedoms are not eroded in a rush to justice. Where the forces of the state exceed their authority and violate the rights guaranteed by the Charter, the evidence so gathered must occasionally yield to a higher value. While society does have a significant interest in having serious allegations of misconduct addressed on their merits, due process must be observed through the process of investigation and adjudication if these freedoms are to be maintained. This is freedom's price.

[81] The administration of justice is damaged by the admission of evidence obtained at the expense of individual rights. On balance, this Court is of the view that the admission of the statement obtained in the circumstances presented here would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The statement is consequently excluded from evidence under section 24(2) of the Charter.

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