section 491.2(3)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A certificate stating the details of a photograph taken by a peace officer or under their direction is admissible as evidence without requiring proof of signature.

SECTION WORDING

491.2(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a certificate of a person stating that (a) the person took the photograph under the authority of subsection (1), (b) the person is a peace officer or took the photograph under the direction of a peace officer, and (c) the photograph is a true photograph shall be admissible in evidence and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is evidence of the statements contained in the certificate without proof of the signature of the person appearing to have signed the certificate.

EXPLANATION

Section 491.2(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the admissibility of photographic evidence in court proceedings. According to this section, a certificate from a person stating that they took a photograph in accordance with subsection (1), that they are a peace officer or took the photograph under the instruction of a peace officer, and that the photograph is accurate, can be submitted as evidence in court. The certificate is admissible in evidence and, in the absence of any contradictory evidence, it is accepted as proof of the statements contained therein without the need for a signature to be verified. This section is relevant in cases where photographic evidence is used to prove a particular fact or incident in a criminal trial. Photographs are often used to show the scene of a crime, the involvement of a suspect in an offense, and other relevant details that can help establish the truth. By providing a mechanism for the admissibility of photographic evidence, this section gives credibility and legal standing to such evidence. Overall, section 491.2(3) acknowledges the importance and value of photographic evidence in criminal trials and provides a clear framework for its use. It ensures that photographic evidence is properly documented and attributed, making it more reliable and admissible in court. This section plays a crucial role in ensuring that justice is served in criminal proceedings by improving the accuracy and reliability of evidence presented in court.

COMMENTARY

Section 491.2(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential provision for the admissibility of photographs taken by peace officers. The section lays out the conditions under which a photograph taken by a peace officer or under their authority is admissible as evidence, and provides for a certificate that can be used to establish the authenticity and reliability of such photographs in court. This section recognizes the importance of photographs in criminal investigations and the role they play in the administration of justice. Photographs can be crucial pieces of evidence in criminal cases, as they can provide visual proof of a crime, document the scene of a crime, or identify suspects or victims. At the same time, there are also concerns about the potential misuse or manipulation of photographs, which could undermine their credibility and impact on the outcome of a trial. To address these concerns, section 491.2(3) sets out clear conditions that must be met for a photograph to be admissible in court. First, the photograph must have been taken by a peace officer under the authority of subsection (1). This refers to section 487.11 of the Criminal Code, which allows a peace officer to use any device to record or take photographs of a person, place, or thing if they have reasonable grounds to believe that it would assist in the investigation of an offence. Second, the person who took the photograph must be a peace officer or must have taken the photograph under the direction of a peace officer. This requirement ensures that the photograph is taken by someone with the necessary training and expertise to properly document the scene of a crime or other relevant information. It also provides a level of accountability, as the peace officer who directed the taking of the photograph can be held responsible for any improper use or manipulation of the evidence. Third, the photograph must be a true photograph. This means that it must accurately depict the scene or object being documented and must not have been tampered with or manipulated in any way. This requirement helps to ensure the reliability and authenticity of the photograph as evidence. Finally, the section allows for a certificate to be used as evidence of the statements contained in it without proof of the signature of the person appearing to have signed the certificate. In practical terms, this means that the peace officer who took the photograph can prepare a certificate stating that they took the photograph under the authority of subsection (1), that the photograph is a true photograph, and that they are a peace officer or took the photograph under the direction of a peace officer. This certificate can then be used as evidence in court, and is considered to be admissible without further proof of its authenticity or the signature of the person who signed it, unless there is evidence to the contrary. Overall, section 491.2(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision for ensuring the admissibility of photographs taken by peace officers in criminal cases. By setting out clear conditions for the admissibility of such evidence, and providing for a certificate that can be used to establish its authenticity and reliability, this section helps to ensure that photographs are used in an appropriate and fair manner in the administration of justice.

STRATEGY

Section 491.2(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides an important tool to law enforcement agencies. It allows them to produce photographic evidence in court without the need for the photographer to testify and authenticate the photograph. However, this section also has some limitations and potential pitfalls that need to be addressed when dealing with photographic evidence in court. One of the most critical strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code is the authenticity of the photograph. The certificate provided by the photographer must include a statement that the photograph is true. However, the authenticity of the photograph can be challenged by the opposing party. For instance, the party may argue that the photograph was edited or manipulated to suit the prosecution's narrative. To overcome this challenge, the photographer should ensure that the photograph is not edited or manipulated in any way. They may also include additional details in the certificate, such as the date, time, and location of the photograph, to support its authenticity. Another strategic consideration is the credibility of the photographer. The certificate provided by the photographer must include a statement that they took the photograph under the authority of subsection (1) or under the direction of a peace officer. The credibility of the photographer can be impeached by the cross-examination of the opposing party. For instance, the opposing party may attempt to cast doubt on the photographer's credibility by asking questions related to their qualifications, training, experience, and bias. To counter these attacks, the photographer should prepare thoroughly for cross-examination, including understanding the details of their interaction with the peace officer and any applicable protocols. A third strategic consideration is the admissibility of the photograph. The certificate provided by the photographer may not be admissible if the photograph is not relevant, material, or reliable. The opposing party may challenge the admissibility of the photograph on these grounds, which could lead to the exclusion of the photograph as evidence. To ensure the admissibility of the photograph, the photographer should ensure that it is relevant and material to the case and that its reliability is not in question. Some strategies that could be employed when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code include ensuring that the photographer is qualified, that they comply with relevant protocols, and that the photograph is not edited or manipulated. Furthermore, the photographer should provide a detailed certificate that includes all relevant information, such as the date, time, and location of the photograph. The prosecutor should also prepare the witnesses thoroughly for cross-examination and ensure that they are credible and reliable. In conclusion, Section 491.2(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential tool for introducing photographic evidence in court. However, its use requires careful consideration of the authenticity, credibility, and admissibility of the photograph, as well as a robust strategy for addressing these issues. By following the appropriate protocols, preparing witnesses thoroughly for cross-examination, and ensuring the authenticity and admissibility of the photograph, the prosecution can increase its chances of success in court.