The right to silence is a legal principle that allows an individual who has been arrested or detained to remain silent and not incriminate themselves during questioning. This right is protected by ss. 7 and 11(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This means that a person who has been detained or arrested has the right to refuse to answer any questions posed by the police or other authorities. They do not have to provide any information that may incriminate themselves, and they can also refuse to provide a statement.
However, it is important to note that while the right to silence is protected, there are some situations where a person may be required to provide certain information, such as their name or address, to the authorities. In addition, in certain, very rare, circumstances, your silence may be used against you in court. For example, if an individual, who is not a person in authority, accused you of a crime, if you remain silent, the Crown could argue that you adopted the statement through your silence.
Overall, the right to silence is an important legal principle that helps to protect the rights of individuals who have been arrested or detained by law enforcement officials in Canada.
What Happens if I Gave a Statement to the Police?
For a statement or confession to be admissible as evidence in court, it must be found to be voluntary according to the test of voluntariness. If the court finds that the statement or confession was obtained through coercion or other improper means, it will be excluded from evidence.
The voluntariness test is used to ensure that any statement or confession made by an accused person was given freely and voluntarily, without coercion, duress, or other improper influence. This involves an analysis of the circumstances surrounding the statement or confession, including the accused person’s age, education, mental state, and physical condition, as well as the nature of the police questioning and the conduct of the police officers. The court will consider whether the accused person was informed of their right to remain silent, whether they were offered access to legal counsel, and whether they were subjected to any threats, promises, or inducements.
The lawyers at Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh have a wealth of experience dealing with Charter issues. This includes unlawful arrests; searches of homes, vehicles, and wiretap investigations; and right to counsel issues. If you or someone you know has been charged because of a search warrant, please give us a call at 416-613-0416 to schedule a consultation.