Accounting for Law

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says sharing a computer with someone does not mean giving up privacy rights over the material stored on the machine.

In a ruling today, the high court restored the acquittal of Thomas Reeves of Sudbury, Ont., on child pornography charges _ even though his common-law spouse had consented to police seizure of a jointly used computer from their home.

In October 2012, police arrived at the home without a warrant after Reeves' spouse reported finding what she believed to be child pornography on the computer.

The ruling says although the spouses shared the computer, Reeves had a reasonable expectation of privacy concerning its contents.

The court found the warrantless seizure of the computer and subsequent search were unreasonable, meaning the child pornography evidence should be disallowed.

The ruling says the case affects the privacy rights of all Canadians who share a computer.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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