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Charter: Rights to Counsel

Section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that everyone has the right on arrest or detention to be informed promptly of the reasons for their detention and to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right.

This right is most often infringed when police investigate people who they believe have committed criminal offences and fail to provide them with an opportunity to speak with a lawyer before they are questioned by police.

Quite often an accused person will not understand the jeopardy he is facing when he is charged with a criminal offence. It is important that he be advised of his right to speak with a lawyer so that he can be properly advised by the lawyer on whether or not he should make a statement to police and the risks associated with making such a statement. The failure on the police to advise an accused person of this right prior to making a statement may render the entire statement inadmissible at trial.

The cases below show examples of instances where an accused was denied his right to speak with a lawyer prior to making a statement. In these cases, the statements were held to be inadmissible against the accused at their trial.  

***Click on the case name in order to read the full judgment***

Charter: Rights to Counsel

R v. Bandwah [2003] - Statements made by Mr. Bandwah to Police regarding his involvement in a robbery were ruled inadmissible due to the failure of Police to record the interrogation on video or properly advise Mr. Badwah of his right to speak with a lawyer prior to making a statement to Police. Counsel: Liam O'Connor

R v. Law [1997] - In a robbery case, a statement of a co-accused was inadmissible against the accused as a result of the failure of police to inform either accused of their right to speak with a lawyer prior to making a statement to police. Counsel: Reid Rusonik

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