When Do Police Need to Show a Search Warrant?

A recent Ontario Superior Court decision, R v Boekdrukker, addressed this issue. The Court examined both what is required in the Criminal Code as well as what is required under the common law.

Section 29(1) of the Criminal Code states that: “It is the duty of every one who executes a process or warrant to have it with him, where it is feasible to do so, and to produce it when requested to do so.” The purpose of this section is to allow the occupants of the place being searched to know why the search has been authorized, and to allow them to know there is a color of authority to the search. As a homeowner whose house is being searched pursuant to a search warrant you are entitled to see the search warrant and can ask to do so. Failure of the police to show you the warrant upon being asked can form a breach of the accused’s section 8 Charter right.

The Court went on to say that the common law mandates that police officers leave a copy of the search warrant in an unoccupied place or premise that they have searched. Failure to leave a copy of the search warrant can also amount to a breach of the accused’s section 8 Charter right.

Copy of the decision: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2018/2018onsc266/2018onsc266.html?resultIndex=1


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