Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision last April that emergency wiretapping without a warrant is unconstitutional, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is expected to unveil new legislation Monday.
Previously, the police were able to wiretap without a warrant if they felt there was a pressing need to prevent a crime that could potentially cause serious harm. However, a unanimous SCC held last spring that the police must “give notice to intercepted parties” through a court-issued warrant so that targeted individuals would be able to “identify and challenge invasions to their privacy and seek meaningful remedies.” The court gave the government 12 months to redraft the provision before declaring the law invalid.
When the ruling was delivered last April, critics of the Conservative government’s internet snooping bill championed the moment. The internet snooping bill sought to give the police access to telephone and internet subscriber information without a court order.
The case was initiated by an appeal by a group of men in British Columbia involved in the abduction of convicted drug lord Peter Li. The men argued that the police had violated their Charter-protected rights by intercepting private phone calls between them and Li’s daughter.
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