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NCJ Number: 67028 Find in a Library
Title: POLICE POWER AND THE ROLE OF THE PROVINCIAL MINISTER OF JUSTICE
Journal: CHITTY'S LAW JOURNAL  Volume:27  Issue:1  Dated:(1979)  Pages:13-18
Author(s): G F GREGORY
Corporate Author: Jonah Publications Limited
Canada
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Jonah Publications Limited
Downsview, Ontario, Canada
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: THE ROLE OF A PROVINCIAL MINISTER OF JUSTICE IN CANADA IN DEFINING AND RESTRAINING POLICE DISCRETION, IS DISCUSSED IN THE TRANSCRIPT OF AN ADDRESS BY THE CANADIAN DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE FOR NEW BRUNSWICK.
Abstract: POLICE DISCRETION, REFERRED TO IN CANADA AS EXCEPTIONAL POWERS, INCLUDES ALL POWERS NOT POSSESSED BY ORDINARY CITIZENS, SUCH AS POWER OF ARREST AND SEARCH. IN THE CANADIAN SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT THE ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR POLICE ACTIVITIES IS VESTED IN THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE OR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, WHO IS CHARGED WITH CARRYING OUT THE PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. GENERAL RESPONSIBILITY AND POWERS OF HIS OFFICE ARE DERIVED FROM BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY TRADITION, AND THE COMMON LAW, AS EMBODIED IN THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL CODE AND STATUTE LAW. THE POWERS OF POLICE OFFICERS, ARE LIMITED TO THOSE EXPLICITY STATED IN THE CRIMINAL CODE AND THE STATUTE LAW: THEY NEED A SEARCH WARRANT TO ENTER A PRIVATE RESIDENCE, OPEN MAIL, OR CONDUCT ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE. THE GENERAL SUPERVISORY INFLUENCE OF THE PROVINCIAL MINISTER OF JUSTICE OR DISTRICT ATTORNEY INFLUENCES POLICE ACTIVITY AND SETS THE STANDARDS OF ACCEPTABLE POLICE CONDUCT. DESPITE THE FACT THAT CANADA HAS 2 SINGLE CODES OF CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE, DIFFERENCES IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S ROLE AMONG PROVINCES ARE SUBSTANTIAL. DIFFERENCES EXIST FOR ARREST PROCEDURES, SEARCH WARRANTS, AND INVESTIGATION. THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S ROLE IN DEFINING POLICE DISCRETION IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WITH REGARD TO INVESTIGATIONS, AN AREA THAT LENDS ITSELF TO THE GREATEST ABUSES OF POLICE DISCRETION. IN GENERAL POLICE OFFICERS LACK OBJECTIVITY TOWARD SUSPECTS, A GRASP OF LEGAL SUBTLETIES, AND THE SPECIAL QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED TO DEAL WITH INVESTIGATIONS OF HIGH-RANKING ELECTED OFFICIALS. SENSITIVE INVESTIGATIONS OF A POLITICAL NATURE SHOULD BE LEFT IN THE HANDS OF THE PROVINCIAL ATTORNEY GENERAL, BECAUSE IN THE CANADIAN PARLIMENTARY DEMOCRACY PROVINCIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ARE RESPONSIBLE TO THE LEGISLATURE WHICH ENSURES THEIR OBJECTIVITY AND ACCPUNTABILITY. THE POWERS OF APPOINTED OFFICIALS, POLICEMEN OR OTHERWISE, SHOULD NOT BE EXERCISED INDEPENDENTLY, BUT, AS IS THE CASE WITH THE POLICE-ATTORNEY GENERAL RELATIONSHIP, SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE AUTHORITY OF AN ELECTED OFFICIAL, ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LEGISLATURE AND TO THE ELECTORATE AS WELL. (LGR)
Index Term(s): Canada; District attorneys; Electronic surveillance; Investigative powers; Police discretion; Search and seizure laws
Note: TEXT OF AN ADDRESS GIVEN TO THE MID-WINTER MEETING OF THE NEW BRUNSWICK BRANCH OF THE CANADIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA, FEBRUARY 3, 1978
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67028

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