Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whats that smell?

It would be the stench coming from the Supreme Court of Canada.

CTV.ca News Staff
Canada's highest court heard an appeal Tuesday focusing on a drug-sniffing dog that uncovered five bags of marijuana and 10 magic mushrooms in the backpack of an Ontario high school student during a police sweep.

At issue is whether the unannounced police visit to the school in 2002 amounted to an unreasonable search under the Charter of Rights.

The incident launched a five-year court battle over privacy rights that has gone all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

A decision is expected next fall in a case that will help determine whether police can use sniffer dogs to conduct random searches at schools and other public places including malls, parks, sport arenas and beaches.

The court will decide whether the unannounced police visit to St. Patrick's high school in Sarnia, Ont. on November 2002 amounted to an unreasonable search and seizure under the Charter of Rights. [...]

If you are in a public place, no matter who the hell you are, and a trained police dog signals to its handler that you are in possession of illegal substances of any kind, that in itself should be grounds for that officer to take further action. It is that simple.

Humour me for just one moment...
Lets say that this sniffing dog was trained to detect explosives. Under the exact same circumstances as in this case, this kids backpack was singled out by the dog and explosives were found contained within. Do you honestly think this case would have ever gone this far? I really don't think so. The dog and his handler would be paraded around the country as heroes who quite possibly saved the lives of hundreds of students. In my mind they are heroes for taking those drugs out of the school and away from the students who could have potentially bought and used them. Illegal drugs do not belong in schools, period. Students should expect that these searches could and will occur.

But it was ONLY drugs, so whats all the fuss? If the SCOC comes to the same conclusion as the lower courts have, and deem this as an unreasonable search under the Charter of Rights, then it will extend to all public places. The heroes I created above would never exist. Of all the public places out there, airports would be the best example... air India comes immediately to mind. Look what happened when the dogs were not allowed to do their job.

Is that the Canada you want to live in? Not me...

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