Wednesday, February 26, 2020


The title of the February 14, 2020 article in the Waterloo Region Record, written by Jeff Outhit, is "Judge blasts child protection worker, police in ruling". The sub-title to the story is "Judge dismisses evidence and acquits couple to protect their privacy rights in scathing ruling". In U.S. law (and television) the principle is sometimes referred to as "fruit of the poisoned branch (or tree). Essentially it means that just because an illegal or unconstitutional search of a person or property yields some sort of criminal evidence, that search does not then become legal, ethical or morally acceptable. In Canada and the United States citizens have the right not to be subject to illegal search or seizure. There must be proper and compelling evidence first prior to any police intervention. Proper and compelling evidence does NOT include tips from the public nor does it include police merely suspecting criminal activity from an individual. Tips or other "information" must be confirmed through non intrusive investigation or independent confirmation from other sources.

In this specific case the child protection worker (Chuck Dasilva) heard that a five year old boy might have seen a gun. That was it! He then, with police accompaniment, went to a home to inspect the home. He had no warrant from a judge ordering a search of the home. Police later returned with what was described as an "unlawful" warrant to search the residence. While they did find evidence of illegal drugs and replica guns, there was no real gun present. The judge in the case threw out all the evidence as having been illegally obtained. This is not the first time Waterloo Regional Police Officers have obtained evidence illegally or improperly nor the first time that they have been publicly criticized for it.

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