Supreme court of Canada ruled that wiretapping power under the provision 184.4 is unconstitutional. It allowed Police to wiretap lines without a warrant or notifying a judge.
The provision was to be used in emergency situations, but was deemed as too vague and open to abuse by organizations such as “BC Civil Liberties Association” who wanted to see the provision struck down or heavily modified.
Roy Millen, who represents BC civil liberties association, claims the issue raised in front of the Supreme court was how this provision could be used by non-police organization (also known as peace officers) to conduct wiretaps
In theory it may be possible for the Mayor, customs officer or Fisheries guardians to listen-in on conversation without a warrant. Associationa believes that “those kind of people should never be wiretapping”.
Another concern raised by the association is the absence of adequare public oversight. The police is not required to disclose how they use this Wiretap power.
Mr. Millen shared his opinion in an interview with the CBC news.
The case was brought up in front of the supreme court because of a 2006 violent kidnapping in Burnaby BC, which saw 3 people kidnapped, tortued and confined for a period of 1 month.
Police believed that lives were in danger and used the provision to conduct wiretaps.
When the case went in front of the criminal court the judge ruled these taps as violating Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but did not dismiss them as evidence and gave 6 men jail sentences ranging from 6 to 10 years.
Defence lawyers objected and the case went all the way up to the supreme court.
The new ruling did not affect the criminal case and Daniel Luis Soux, Yat Fung, Albert Tse, Viet Bac Nguyen, Myles Alexander Vandrick and Nhan Trong Ly remain in jail.
The six men have filed separate appeals which are currently being treated.
Supreme court has given the Federal Government 12 months to rewrite the law. Until then Police can keep using this provision.
Some opposition representatives claim that this new ruling is a blow to Harper’s internet surveillance Bill.