Although wiretaps can be used during criminal investigations, the police must get the necessary authorization first. If they fail to do so, any private communications that are intercepted cannot be used as evidence.
If you have been wiretapped during the course of a criminal investigation, we can advise whether or not the police acted within the confines of the law. If not, we can apply to have that particular piece of evidence struck out.
To find out more about how our criminal defence lawyers can help you, please contact us today at Mickelson & Whysall.
Wiretaps and the law
The term ‘wiretap’ can relate to any situation in which someone’s private communications are monitored, be it telephone calls, text messages, emails or otherwise. It is a tool sometimes used by the police, especially when investigating drug-related offences.
However, in Canada, there are laws that govern an individual’s right to privacy. This means that no one is allowed to intercept private communications without obtaining either the individual’s permission or a warrant.
If the police do wish to wiretap a suspect, or anyone else they believe to be crucial to their investigation, they must get a wiretap warrant first. An application must be made to a judge or a justice of the peace, who will then consider whether to authorize the request.
Phone taps, wires, body packs and other devices cannot be used until a wiretap warrant is issued.
Was a wiretap lawful?
If a wiretap is used and a warrant has not been issued, it will not be lawful. The same applies if the wiretap was wrongfully issued, perhaps because the police did not follow the correct procedure or excluded certain information from the application.
If a wiretap is not lawful but your private communications are intercepted anyway, it could amount to a breach of your Charter Rights. If this can be established, then any evidence collected during the course of the wiretap cannot be relied upon to prosecute you.
Vancouver criminal lawyer
At Mickelson & Whysall we are criminal defence lawyers and understand the rules and regulations surrounding wiretaps. If we believe that your private communications have been unlawfully intercepted, we will explore the matter further and will advise whether or not your Charter Rights have been violated.
If your rights have been breached, we will make an application to have that evidence excluded. This can be of great importance during a trial, and maybe the difference between an acquittal and a guilty verdict.
For further information on how we can help you defend a criminal charge, please contact our Vancouver law office.