section 487.1(5)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section allows a justice to issue a warrant for search and seizure without the need for a written information if certain requirements are met.

SECTION WORDING

487.1(5) A justice referred to in subsection (1) who is satisfied that an information submitted by telephone or other means of telecommunication (a) is in respect of an indictable offence and conforms to the requirements of subsection (4), (b) discloses reasonable grounds for dispensing with an information presented personally and in writing, and (c) discloses reasonable grounds, in accordance with subsection 256(1) or paragraph 487(1)(a), (b) or (c), as the case may be, for the issuance of a warrant in respect of an indictable offence, may issue a warrant to a peace officer conferring the same authority respecting search and seizure as may be conferred by a warrant issued by a justice before whom the peace officer appears personally pursuant to subsection 256(1) or 487(1), as the case may be, and may require that the warrant be executed within such time period as the justice may order.

EXPLANATION

Section 487.1(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the process by which a justice may issue a warrant to a peace officer through means of telecommunication. Essentially, if the justice receives information via telephone or other forms of telecommunication that meets certain requirements, they may issue a search and seizure warrant to a peace officer. In order for the justice to issue the warrant via telecommunication, the information must pertain to an indictable offence and meet the requirements outlined in subsection (4). Further, the information must disclose reasonable grounds for dispensing with the requirement of an in-person, written information presentation. Finally, the information must disclose reasonable grounds for the issuance of the warranted demanded by subsection 256(1) or paragraph 487(1)(a), (b), or (c). This section of the Criminal Code of Canada offers a streamlined process for obtaining a search and seizure warrant and recognizes the importance of telecommunications technology in modern law enforcement. However, it is important to note that this process still requires substantial evidence and must be conducted within legal parameters to respect individuals' privacy rights.

COMMENTARY

Section 487.1(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important and significant provision that allows a justice to issue a warrant for the search and seizure of evidence in relation to an indictable offence, even if the information is submitted by telephone or other means of telecommunication. The provision is invoked when a police officer does not present an information personally and in writing before a justice, but instead, provides this information to the justice through telecommunication channels, such as telephone. According to the provision, the justice can issue a warrant if they are satisfied that the information disclosed by the police officer is in respect of an indictable offence and meets the requirements of subsection (4). Subsection (4) of this provision outlines the information that must be included in the information, such as the description of the offence, the date and place of the offence, and the name of the accused if known. Furthermore, the justice must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for dispensing with an information presented personally and in writing, which means that the information provided over the phone or other means of telecommunication is sufficient. Additionally, the justice must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds, in accordance with subsection 256(1) or paragraph 487(1)(a), (b) or (c), for the issuance of a warrant in respect of the indictable offence. This means that there must be a strong likelihood that the search and seizure will uncover evidence relevant to the offence in question. One of the notable aspects of this provision is that it allows for more efficient and effective law enforcement. It acknowledges that in some cases, prompt action is necessary to prevent potential suspects from fleeing or destroying evidence. By allowing police officers to submit information by telephone or other telecommunication means, they can quickly provide the necessary information to the justice and obtain a warrant for search and seizure without the need for the officer to appear before the justice in person. However, this provision is not without controversy. The ability to obtain a warrant without presenting information personally and in writing is seen by some as a risk to civil liberties. It is argued that telecommunication channels can be vulnerable to errors and abuse, and that the information provided in this way may not always meet the necessary standards. Furthermore, since the police officer is not present in person, the justice may not have the opportunity to ask additional questions or clarify any ambiguities in the information. Overall, Section 487.1(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential provision for law enforcement and the investigation of indictable offences. It balances the need for prompt action with the requirement for a strong likelihood that the search and seizure will uncover relevant evidence. While there are concerns around its potential impact on civil liberties, it remains an important tool in the administration of justice.

STRATEGY

Section 487.1(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a mechanism for obtaining a search warrant through telecommunication means such as telephone or fax. This section can be a useful tool for law enforcement agencies who require quick access to a search warrant for immediate action. One strategic consideration when dealing with this section is the requirement that the information submitted by telecommunication conforms to the requirements of subsection (4) of the same section. Subsection (4) outlines the information that must be included in the request for a warrant, including the grounds for issuing the warrant and the specific place or thing to be searched. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that all the necessary information is included in the telecommunication request to avoid any challenges to the validity of the warrant later on. Another strategic consideration is the need to meet the requirements of subsection (5)(b). This subsection requires that the information disclosed in the telecommunication request must disclose reasonable grounds for dispensing with the requirement of presenting the information personally and in writing. This means that the police must be able to demonstrate that there are good reasons why they cannot present the information in person such as the urgency of the situation, or the physical distance between the police and the issuing justice. These reasons need to be clearly articulated in the telecommunication request to ensure that the warrant is valid. A further strategic consideration is the need to establish reasonable grounds for the issuance of the warrant. The telecommunication request must disclose reasonable grounds, in accordance with subsection 256(1) or paragraph 487(1)(a), (b), or (c), for the issuance of a warrant in respect of an indictable offense. This means that the police must present evidence that supports their belief that a crime has been committed and that the place or thing to be searched is likely to yield evidence related to that crime. One strategy that could be employed to ensure compliance with these requirements is to have a standardized form for telecommunication requests for warrants. This form would prompt officers to include all the necessary information required by the Criminal Code and ensure that they meet the requirements of the section. Having a standardized form would also allow for greater consistency in the way warrants are requested and issued, reducing the risk of challenges to the validity of the warrant. Another strategy would be to provide training to officers on the requirements of section 487.1(5). This would ensure that officers are aware of the key considerations when requesting a warrant through telecommunication means and understand the importance of meeting all the necessary requirements. The training could also cover best practices for drafting telecommunication requests and provide guidance on how to articulate the grounds for dispensing with the requirement to present the information personally and in writing. In summary, section 487.1(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides an important mechanism for law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants through telecommunication means. Strategic considerations when dealing with this section include ensuring that all the necessary information is included in the telecommunication request, establishing reasonable grounds for the issuance of the warrant, and demonstrating that there are valid reasons for dispensing with the requirement to present the information personally and in writing. Strategies such as having a standardized form and providing training to officers can help ensure compliance with these requirements and reduce the risk of challenges to the validity of the warrant.