Jan 042010
 January 4, 2010  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Betsy Powell reports:

During a routine traffic stop, police suspected the car was stolen. That led to a search uncovering a handgun concealed in the back seat. With a suspect in custody, an officer looked through the man’s hand-held device and discovered a seemingly incriminating text message.

But the officer found that, while he was legally able to seize the device, the evidence he found couldn’t necessarily be used in court.


This fall, Toronto defence lawyer Darren Sederoff argued the warrantless search leading to the discovery of a text message infringed his client’s (Section 8) Charter rights to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

The judge agreed.


Despite their rulings, Lederer and Trafford turned down defence motions to exclude evidence taken from the cellphone. Lederer found the conduct of the officer who retrieved the text “was not on the serious end of the scale,” nor did he act in “bad faith.”

Read more in The Toronto Star.

  One Response to “Privacy rights in a digital age”

  1. I used to retain some SMS messages as little digital keepsakes. Now, I always delete messages after reading.

    Sure, I know the content is retained for a set period by the telecommunications carriers, but at least there’s nothing physically with me when someone decides to review the contents of my mobile/cell phone.

    Unlike my other digital gear, my mobile/cell phone can’t have its contents encrypted leaving it open to snooping if seized – whether by law enforcement or friend/partner/s “mucking around”.

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