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Litigation likely in search and seizure ruling

The decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that states police must target computers and cellphones specifically in search-and-seizure situations will face more litigation until parameters are set, Toronto criminal lawyer John Rosen tells The Lawyers Weekly.

Rosen, partner at Rosen Naster LLP, co-counsel for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario that was an intervener in the case, predicts that police seeking to search a location will now routinely seek judicial authorization to search computers and cellphones found there.

Hailed by civil liberties groups and counsel as a crucial victory on privacy rights, the article says the top court rejected arguments that computer and smartphones are part of the locations where the search warrants are executed.

Judges voted unanimously that it is an unreasonable search and seizure and infringes on s. 8 of the Charter of Rights.

“The court indicated that you can’t just go on a fishing expedition when you’re looking into that area because of the vast scope of things that could be on that cellphone or computer,” Rosen says.

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