section 487.3(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section allows judges or justices to prohibit access and disclosure of information relating to warrants or orders if it is deemed necessary to prevent injustice or improper use.

SECTION WORDING

487.3(1) A judge or justice may, on application made at the time of issuing a warrant under this or any other Act of Parliament or a production order under section 487.012 or 487.013, or of granting an authorization to enter a dwelling-house under section 529 or an authorization under section 529.4 or at any time thereafter, make an order prohibiting access to and the disclosure of any information relating to the warrant, production order or authorization on the ground that (a) the ends of justice would be subverted by the disclosure for one of the reasons referred to in subsection (2) or the information might be used for an improper purpose; and (b) the ground referred to in paragraph (a) outweighs in importance the access to the information.

EXPLANATION

Section 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada empowers a judge or justice to prohibit access to and disclosure of any information that relates to a warrant issued under any act of parliament, a production order, or authorization to enter a dwelling-house. The judge or justice may make such an order at the time of issuing the warrant or production order, or even afterward if they believe that the ends of justice would be subverted by the disclosure of information or if the information might be used for an improper purpose. The section lists two grounds on which such an order may be made. Firstly, if the disclosure of the information would subvert the ends of justice for reasons outlined in subsection (2) or if the information is likely to be used for an improper purpose. Secondly, even if the information may be deemed relevant, the judge or justice needs to consider whether the grounds referred to in paragraph (a) outweigh the access to that information in importance. This provision seeks to balance the interests of justice against the need for confidentiality. The provision ensures that information is not disclosed inappropriately in court proceedings and is kept confidential. Prohibiting access to information is necessary to prevent the exploitation of sensitive information for unethical purposes and to maintain the integrity of the legal system. In conclusion, section 487.3(1) serves an essential function in protecting sensitive information in the legal system while balancing the interests of justice against the need for confidentiality. It affirms Canada's commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting the fundamental rights of all its citizens.

COMMENTARY

Section 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the issue of confidentiality of information related to warrants, production orders, and authorizations. It grants the power to judges and justices to make an order prohibiting access to and disclosure of any information related to these instruments on the ground that the ends of justice would be subverted by the disclosure for one of the reasons referred to in subsection (2) or the information might be used for an improper purpose. The section also stipulates that the ground referred to in paragraph (a) outweighs in importance the access to the information. This provision is essential in protecting the integrity of investigations and safeguarding the privacy rights of individuals involved in criminal proceedings. It recognizes that the disclosure of certain information can be detrimental to the investigation, or it may lead to the use of the information for nefarious purposes. It also recognizes that the importance of certain information may be outweighed by the risk posed by its disclosure. The reasons referred to in subsection (2) of the section include the potential harm to the safety of individuals, ongoing investigations, national security, international relations, and the enforcement of any law of Canada or a province. These are all legitimate reasons to prohibit access to and disclosure of information related to a warrant, production order, or authorization. The provision is also consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to privacy and the protection of personal information. It recognizes that the privacy rights of individuals must be balanced against the public interest in the administration of justice, and in some cases, the public interest may outweigh individual privacy rights. However, the provision also raises concerns about accountability and transparency. It is essential to ensure that the power to prohibit access to and disclosure of information related to legal proceedings is not abused or used to suppress evidence that may be relevant to a case. There must be appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure that the orders made under this section are reasonable and necessary. Moreover, it is crucial to ensure that the provision is not used to shield law enforcement agencies from scrutiny or accountability. The ability to prohibit access and disclosure of information related to warrants, production orders, and authorizations must not be used to prevent legitimate inquiries or investigations into law enforcement practices. In conclusion, Section 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential provision in safeguarding the integrity of investigations and protecting privacy rights. It recognizes the importance of balancing the public interest in the administration of justice against the privacy rights of individuals. However, appropriate measures must be in place to ensure that the provision is not used to suppress evidence or shield law enforcement from scrutiny. Ultimately, the provision's goal must be to ensure fairness and justice while preserving the fundamental rights and freedoms that underpin Canadian democracy.

STRATEGY

Section 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a powerful tool for law enforcement officials to protect the confidentiality of information related to warrants, production orders, and authorizations. This provision enables a judge or justice to prohibit access to and disclosure of such information on the grounds that it could subvert the ends of justice or be used for an improper purpose. When dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, there are several strategic considerations that should be taken into account. First and foremost, it is important to understand the grounds for seeking a non-disclosure order and carefully assess whether these grounds are present. If the ends of justice would not be subverted by disclosing the information or there is no risk that it might be used for an improper purpose, it may not be appropriate to seek a non-disclosure order. Assuming that the grounds for seeking a non-disclosure order are present, there are several strategies that could be employed. One strategy is to gather as much evidence as possible to support the application for the order. This may involve conducting interviews with witnesses, collecting documentary evidence, or conducting surveillance to establish the risk that information could be used for an improper purpose. Another strategy is to carefully craft the application for the non-disclosure order to clearly and convincingly demonstrate the grounds on which it is being sought. This may involve engaging an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the provisions of the Criminal Code and who can effectively argue on behalf of the applicant before the judge or justice. It is also important to consider the potential implications of a non-disclosure order on the broader investigation and the goal of obtaining a conviction. For example, the order may restrict the ability of the prosecutor to share information with other agencies or to use it in subsequent proceedings. In some cases, this may be a necessary sacrifice to protect the integrity of the investigation, but it should be actively assessed before seeking the order. Finally, it is important to consider the potential impact of the non-disclosure order on the public perception of the investigation or prosecution. In some cases, the perception that information is being hidden or that due process is not being followed could undermine public confidence in the justice system. This should be carefully weighed against the need for confidentiality and the values of the justice system. In summary, the use of section 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada can be a powerful tool for protecting the confidentiality of information related to warrants, production orders, and authorizations. However, it should be used judiciously and in accordance with the principles of due process and fairness, and with careful consideration of the potential implications for the broader investigation and the justice system as a whole.