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Free Charter of Rights Essay Sample

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In any country there are laws that govern the system operations. The charter of rights attends to issues that relate to the powers of the officers with authority to exercise the same. In any country or supreme nation there exits laws. Whether the law is considered good or bad is debatable, depending whether you are on the stands or on the court.

R.V Askov case took place in 1990 where an appeal that was heard before the supreme court of Canada which aimed at establishing whether the standards and the acceptable criteria established and under which the Canadian courts judge. The case was to find out whether the accused rights under the Canadian Charter of rights and freedom, specifically section 11(b) which states that an accused has to be tried within a reasonable time was infringed in the case. In this case, the appellants successfully argued that the criminal charges laid before them should be dropped on the basis that the trial against was unreasonably delayed which was contrary to the charter's guarantee under 11(b) where it is clearly stated that any person charged with an offence has the right...to be tried within a reasonable time. In this situation the Supreme Court disagreed with the court of appeal ruling and thus found that the said delays were found to be unreasonable and the case was directed to stay against the appellants. Other cases, in thousands are reported to have consequently dismissed on similar grounds (Bench and Bar Council of Ontario, 1995).


R.V Feeney case took place in 1997 and it led to a major decision by the Supreme Court on section 8 of the charter right against instances of search and seizure. The court argued that police do not have permission to enter into someone's house without the necessary search warrant. In this incidence the police are reported to have knocked on the door of a trailer and the much they did was to shout "police", with no reply forthcoming, they withdrew guns and entered. Feeney was found in bed and the police shook his legs to gather his attention. Feeney was requested to go outside where the lighting was better. On close observation, the police realized that Feeney's clothes were covered with blood. The police took the initiative to inform Feeney of his rights and after he acknowledged understanding them, he was arrested. When questioned, Feeney said that the blood resulted from being hit by a baseball the day before. The police also noted the presence of the same brand of cigarettes in the trailer as the ones found in Boyle's residence. Feeney was taken to the RCMP detachment where he was finger printed and also requested to use the breathalyzer. In the few days he was unsuccessful in contacting the lawyer, during this period after further questioning, Feeney admitted he had robbed and hit Boyle. The search warrant was obtained and the police managed to recover the stolen property of Boyle in the trailer. Feeney managed to get a lawyer after all this. He was convicted of the second degree murder at the trial in the Supreme Court of the British Columbia. On appealing the conviction was upheld. The basis for upholding the conviction was the consideration by Sopinka on the leading case of R.V Landry in 1986, that was on the warrantless arrests in a situation where the police officer could only arrest if there exists the essential reasonable and probable grounds to the believe that the said person may be in the premises, the announcement is properly made before entering and the police officer believes beyond doubt that the person will or has committed the indictable offence. All the arguments should be found on the subjective and objective grounds though. Sopinka held that there were no such grounds in this case. The officer admitted having entered without proper grounds. Sopinka looked at R.V. Landry as being a bad law especially in the post-Charter law and he argued that any entry into any private residence has to be done with a warrant (R.V. Landry, 1986).

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In R. v. Godoy, a case in 1999 was being led at the Supreme Court of Canada that involved the scope of the powers of the police when it comes to entering the private dwellings without a warrant to be able to protect lives. The court confirmed that the common law required police to protect lives as part of their duty and that incase of any anonymous 911 phone call should be able to trigger them into duty and thus the police are justified in entering the private premises by force. In the situation in consideration, the 911 operator is said to have received an "unknown trouble" call where the operator did not hear the voice before the phone was disconnected. This was on June, 1992 and the trouble call was traced to Godoy's house and this led to subsequent dispatch of four policemen to the house. It is the policy of the police to treat "unknown trouble" as a high priority calls. On talking with Godoy, the officers were informed that there was no problem. On request by the officer to get in, Godoy tried to close and the police office put the foot on the door and managed to enter the house where they found a woman who was battered sobbing. Godoy was arrested for assault. In the court of appeal, the court ruled that the police acted within their mandate and actions taken was valid based on the common law duty in the protection and prevention of serious injuries and lives. The Court of appeal's decision was upheld by the court of appeal. In this case we see the police being allowed to enter private dwellings to be able to fulfill their duties, as long as there are probable and reasonable grounds.

The hearsay revolution was believed to have begun as a result of leading decision on hearsay by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R. v Smith in 1992. Larry Smith was being accused of killing Monalisa King. The two are believed to have traveled together from Detroit to London. While in Canada Smith is believed to have asked Monalisa to smuggle drugs for him and upon her refusal she was killed. During the trial, King's mother said she had received four phone calls from her daughter in the night of her death (Canada. Law Reform Commission, 1984). Though last phone call was made near where her body was found but she had told the mother that she will be home very soon. Smith was convicted and on appeal a new trial was ordered and the case was dismissed argument that statements are not admissible (Canada. Law Reform Commission, 1987).

All the people found in Canada under any situation either as asylum seekers, those with work visa, temporary or student visa may not have the status of the permanent resident or Canadian citizen but they have protection under the law under the charter of rights.  Canada as signatory to human rights treaties has legal obligation towards the non-permanent citizens under the convention relating to refugees and the convention against torture. The Supreme Court has on various occasions been categorical that the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms guarantees the rights of asylum seekers to the fundamental justice and thus enjoy the rights that the permanent citizens enjoy.

On the question on whether there exist instances of good case law and bad case law is debatable. From the instances discussed above we have seen where the police are expected to act on incidences where a distress call would receive a higher priority attention. We also see cases where though the police acted in the best interest of the affected party, their inability to follow some specified criteria have led to the freedom of the accused even though he admitted to the case.

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