section 487.01(5.1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section requires that a warrant authorizing covert entry and search requires notice to be given within a reasonable time.

SECTION WORDING

487.01(5.1) A warrant issued under subsection (1) that authorizes a peace officer to enter and search a place covertly shall require, as part of the terms and conditions referred to in subsection (3), that notice of the entry and search be given within any time after the execution of the warrant that the judge considers reasonable in the circumstances.

EXPLANATION

Section 487.01(5.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial provision that governs the issuance of warrants that authorize peace officers to enter and search a place covertly. The section requires that such a warrant, which is typically used in cases where giving prior notice to the occupants of a place being searched would jeopardize the investigation, must contain a provision that requires the issuing judge to specify the terms and conditions under which notice of the entry and search must be given. This provision emphasizes the importance of balancing the need for covert entry and search with the rights and interests of the occupants of the place being searched. It recognizes that covert searches can be intrusive and that the occupants of the place being searched have a right to know that their property and privacy have been invaded. However, the provision also recognizes that a covert search may be necessary to uncover evidence in circumstances where the evidence may be destroyed or removed if prior notice is given. The requirement that the judge set a reasonable time limit within which notice must be given is an additional safeguard to ensure that the occupant's rights are respected and that the search does not become unnecessarily prolonged or intrusive. By specifying a time limit, the provision provides a degree of certainty to the occupants as to when they can expect to be notified of the search, while also giving investigators the flexibility needed to complete their search in a timely and effective manner. Overall, section 487.01(5.1) is an important provision that helps balance the sometimes competing interests of privacy and investigation, and it underscores the need for careful consideration by the issuing judge to ensure that the warrant is crafted in a way that respects the rights of those being searched while also facilitating the objectives of the search.

COMMENTARY

Section 487.01(5.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision with regards to covert searches by peace officers. This section of the code was introduced as part of the 2004 Anti-terrorism Act and it requires that any warrant issued under subsection (1) that authorizes a peace officer to enter and search a place covertly must include a requirement that notice of the entry and search be given within any time after the execution of the warrant that the judge considers reasonable in the circumstances. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that individuals whose properties or premises are searched covertly are given notice of the search, albeit within a reasonable timeframe. This requirement allows individuals who are subject to such searches to be informed of the fact that they have been targeted by law enforcement and to take appropriate legal action if necessary. This provision is designed to ensure transparency and accountability in the actions of law enforcement officials. Covert searches can be a necessary tool in certain circumstances, especially in situations where evidence of criminal activity may be destroyed if law enforcement officials were to announce their presence before the search is conducted. However, these searches can also be considered intrusive and can violate an individual's right to privacy. This provision in the code is intended to strike a balance between the need for effective law enforcement and the protection of individual rights. It is important to note that the judge is given the discretion to determine what constitutes a reasonable timeframe for the provision of notice. This flexibility ensures that the provision can be applied in a way that is appropriate for each individual case. The reasonableness of the timeframe, therefore, is based on the specific circumstances of the case and should take into account factors such as the seriousness of the alleged offence, the likelihood of evidence being destroyed, and any potential harm that may be caused to the individual or individuals subject to the search. Overall, section 487.01(5.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that aims to balance the need for effective law enforcement with the protection of individual rights. The requirement for notice of covert searches ensures transparency and accountability in the actions of law enforcement officials, and it provides individuals with the opportunity to take legal action if necessary. As with any provision in the code, the application of this provision should be done so in a way that is appropriate for each individual case, with careful consideration being given to the specific circumstances that exist.

STRATEGY

Section 487.01(5.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows for a warrant to be issued that authorizes a peace officer to enter and search a place covertly. This means that the search can be conducted without the knowledge of the occupants of the premises. However, the warrant must include a requirement that notice of the entry and search be given within a reasonable timeframe after the execution of the warrant. This section of the Criminal Code raises a number of strategic considerations that must be taken into account by law enforcement agencies when using covert search warrants. One of the key strategic considerations relates to the timing of the notice. The judge who issues the warrant will determine the timeframe within which notice must be given. Law enforcement agencies must carefully consider what this timeframe should be, based on the specific circumstances of the case. If notice is given too soon, it may compromise the investigation by alerting the suspects to the fact that they are under surveillance. On the other hand, if notice is given too late, it may result in evidence being excluded from the trial or other legal proceedings. Another strategic consideration is the method of giving notice. Law enforcement agencies may choose to give notice directly to the suspects or by leaving a written notice at the premises. The method chosen may depend on the nature of the evidence being sought and the likelihood that the suspects will attempt to destroy it. Direct notice may be more effective in ensuring that suspects do not destroy evidence, but it also runs the risk of alerting them to the investigation. In addition to the timing and method of giving notice, law enforcement agencies must also consider the impact that the covert search may have on other aspects of the investigation. For example, if the search yields significant evidence, it may be necessary to obtain additional warrants or conduct further surveillance to build a stronger case. Alternatively, if the search does not yield sufficient evidence, the investigation may need to be refocused or abandoned. There are a number of strategies that law enforcement agencies can employ when using covert search warrants under section 487.01(5.1). One strategy is to coordinate the execution of the warrant with other investigative activities, such as surveillance or information gathering. This can help to ensure that the search is conducted in a timely and effective manner. Another strategy is to carefully consider the wording of the warrant and the terms and conditions imposed by the judge. Law enforcement agencies may be able to negotiate with the judge to ensure that the terms of the warrant are tailored to the specific circumstances of the case. This could include negotiating a longer or shorter timeframe for giving notice, or agreeing on a specific method of giving notice. Finally, it may be beneficial for law enforcement agencies to consult with legal counsel or other experts in criminal law when using covert search warrants under section 487.01(5.1). This can help to ensure that the warrant is executed in compliance with the law and that any evidence obtained is admissible in court. In conclusion, section 487.01(5.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the use of covert search warrants in certain circumstances. Law enforcement agencies must carefully consider the strategic implications of using these warrants, including the timing and method of giving notice, the impact on other aspects of the investigation, and the wording of the warrant. By employing effective strategies and consulting with legal counsel, law enforcement agencies can ensure that the warrant is executed in compliance with the law and that any evidence obtained is admissible in court.