Criminal Procedure Case Study

1057 Words5 Pages
The Supreme Court of Canada fails to take a consistent and principled approach to criminal procedure cases. Assessing the constitutionality of legislation is an important function of the Supreme Court of Canada. Consequently, consistent and principled approaches are expected and required in the interest of fairness and upholding judicial legitimacy. The judiciary’s role in protecting individual rights from state interference is a core judicial function, particularly in criminal procedure cases. “The duty to protect individual rights lies at the core of the judiciary’s role, a role which takes on increased significance in the criminal law where the vast resources of the state and very often the weight of public opinion are stacked against the…show more content…
In R v Morales, the issue before the court was regarding the bail procedure and whether the “public interest” ground is constitutionally valid. The majority held the criterion of “public interest” as a basis for pre-trial detention violated s 11 (e) of the Charter because it authorized detention in terms which were vague and imprecise (p. 649). The court stated that “since pre-trial detention is extraordinary in our system of criminal justice, vagueness in defining the terms of pre-trial detention may be more invidious than vagueness in defining an offence” (p. 650). Considering the purpose of the bail process, the court rightly took a strict approach. The bail process should not unnecessarily infringe on the presumption of innocence. “The vague and overbroad concept of public interest permits far more pre-trial detention than is required to meet the limited objectives of preventing crime and preventing interference with the administration of justice by those who are on bail. Accordingly, this does not constitute a minimal impairment of rights.” (p. 652) This decision represents an approach by the Supreme Court that scrutinizes the manner in which parliament has chosen to deal with pre-trial…show more content…
(p 654) A constitutional challenge to s 515 (10) (c) was brought in R v Hall. The criterion of “public interest” from the previous legislation was replaced with “to maintain confidence in the administration of justice” (p. 656). Before their analysis of the legislation, the court declares that the court is taking a deferential approach in accordance with the spirit of constitutional dialogue. Thus, the analysis begins with the presumption of constitutionality. The court states “the facts of this case, offer convincing proof that in some circumstances it may be necessary to the proper functioning of the bail system and, more broadly of the justice system, to deny bail even where there is no risk that the accused will not attend trial or ay re-offence or interfere with the administration of justice.” (655) Rather than relying on their approach in Morales or the principles and approach that is supposed to guide the analysis, the court tries to justify the legislation by focusing on the facts of the case and the reaction that the public had to the case considering its horrific nature. This is in direct contrast to what was stated in R v Morales in declaring the legislation unconstitutional. “The vague and overbroad concept of public interest permits far more pre-trial detention
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