section 707(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

No one can be held in custody for more than 30 days solely for the purpose of appearing as a witness without being brought before a judge.

SECTION WORDING

707(1) No person shall be detained in custody under the authority of any provision of this Act, for the purpose only of appearing and giving evidence when required as a witness, for any period exceeding thirty days unless prior to the expiration of those thirty days he has been brought before a judge of a superior court of criminal jurisdiction in the province in which he is being detained.

EXPLANATION

Section 707(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code is a vital safeguard designed to protect the rights of accused persons and ensure that the state does not abuse its power when it comes to the exercise of its authority to detain individuals. The section lays out clear guidelines which limit the period in which an individual can be held in custody for the sole purpose of appearing and providing evidence in a case. The provision makes it clear that no one should be held in custody for a period exceeding 30 days solely for the purpose of appearing as a witness. This time frame serves as a limit that prevents detention from becoming indefinite, and ensures all individuals' rights are respected. This is vital to prevent abuse, as detaining someone for long would infringe on their freedom and potentially impact their emotional and psychological wellbeing. Having this limit in place ensures the state must bring the individual before a judge of the superior court of criminal jurisdiction in the province within 30 days. This allows for independent oversight and prevents detentions from taking longer than necessary. This regulation also ensures that the court continuously monitors the progression of the case and that the process is fair to all parties involved. In conclusion, Section 707(1) upholds the principle of fairness and protects the rights of individuals who are in detention solely to appear as a witness in a case. It ensures that the Canadian Criminal Code prevents indefinite detention and respects every individual's freedoms and rights. This act provides a safeguard against abuse of power and ensures that the state remains accountable.

COMMENTARY

The Canadian criminal justice system is based on the principle of the rule of law and the presumption of innocence. However, in some cases, the investigation of a crime may require the detention of a person who is not necessarily a suspected offender but may have information relevant to a criminal investigation. In such cases, Section 707(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the rules for the detention of such persons. This section of the Criminal Code aims to balance the need for gathering evidence with the right of individuals to be free from unlawful detention. It provides that no person shall be detained in custody for the sole purpose of appearing and giving evidence when required as a witness, for any period exceeding thirty days unless they have been brought before a judge of a superior court of criminal jurisdiction in the province in which they are being detained. The requirement for a judicial review after thirty days is crucial to prevent arbitrary detention and protect the liberty of the detained individual. The judge must assess whether there is still a justification for the continued detention and whether it is reasonably necessary to compel the witness to attend court. The judge may also consider alternative measures such as a subpoena or other means of compelling attendance. The purpose of this section is to ensure that the detention of a witness is not used as a tool for coercion or intimidation by law enforcement agencies. It is important to note that this provision does not apply to situations where the detained person is suspected of committing an offence or is being held in custody for other reasons such as public safety. However, there have been some criticisms of this provision. Some argue that thirty days is too long a period to detain someone without a judicial review, and that it could be shortened to provide better protection of individual rights. Others argue that this section of the Criminal Code is not commonly used and that there is limited knowledge and understanding of it among the public. Despite these criticisms, Section 707(1) of the Criminal Code plays an essential role in protecting the liberty of individuals who are detained only for the purpose of appearing and giving evidence when required as a witness. It provides a crucial safeguard against arbitrary detention and coercion and ensures that the principles of the rule of law and the presumption of innocence are maintained.

STRATEGY

Section 707(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada places a time limit on the detention of individuals who are being held only for the purpose of providing witness testimony. This section offers protection against the abusive practice of unnecessarily detaining witnesses for extended periods of time, which can be detrimental to the individual's wellbeing and can lead to abuses of the legal system. One of the strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code is the timing of when a witness is called upon to testify. If the witness is called to testify early in the proceedings, then there may be sufficient time to ensure that the witness is released within the 30-day limit set out in section 707(1). However, if the witness is called upon later in the proceedings, the 30-day period may have already expired, and it may be necessary to take immediate steps to ensure that the witness is not unjustly detained. One strategy that could be employed is to seek the assistance of legal counsel or an advocacy group, who can help to ensure that the witness's rights are protected. They can help to monitor the proceedings and ensure that the witness is released within the 30-day period, or that a hearing is held before a judge to determine whether the witness should be released. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with the prosecutor to release the witness earlier than the 30-day limit. Another strategy that could be employed is to apply for a writ of habeas corpus. This is a legal order that requires the detaining authority to present the detained person before the court and show cause for their detention. If the court finds that the detention is unlawful, it may order the immediate release of the witness. It is also important to ensure that the witness's rights are respected while they are in custody. This includes ensuring that they have access to legal counsel, medical care, and other necessary services. Advocacy groups may be able to provide support and resources to ensure that the witness's needs are met. In conclusion, section 707(1) of the Criminal Code offers an important protection against the abusive practice of unnecessarily detaining witnesses. Strategic considerations when dealing with this section include the timing of when a witness is called upon to testify, seeking legal assistance, applying for a writ of habeas corpus, and ensuring that the witness's rights are respected while they are in custody. These strategies can help to ensure that witnesses are not unjustly detained and that their rights are protected throughout the legal process.