Authority to Search a Motor Vehicle

In Canada, all powers to search and seize are now subject to section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which articulates the right not to be unreasonably searched or have one’s possessions seized. As a result, sec. 8 requires that an assessment be made in each case of whether the public’s interest in being left alone by the government must give way to the government’s interest in intruding on the individual’s privacy in order to advance its goals: most notably, those of law enforcement. In the case of Hunter v. Southam, the Supreme Court of Canada held that, save a few exceptions, and as a means of preventing unjustified searches, the requirement of prior authorization, such as a valid warrant, is a pre-condition for a valid search or seizure. The logical extension of this requirement amounts in principle to the rule that warrantless searches that don’t fall…

10 Nov 2010