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Supreme Court to rule on the right to a lawyer

Ottawa – On Friday, October 8, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada will release its
decision in three companion appeals which concern the rights of criminally accused to
speak with their lawyers: Willier v. HMQ, Sinclair v. HMQ, McCrimmon v. HMQ. The
BCCLA was an intervener in the cases.

The questions posed in these cases concern the scope of the right to a lawyer guaranteed
by section 10(b) of the Charter. Section 10(b) provides that “Everyone has the right on
arrest or detention to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that
right.” In R. v. Sinclair, the accused spoke with his lawyer for a total of six minutes at the
beginning of his detention. The police then interviewed the accused for several hours. During the interview, the accused stated multiple times that he did not want to talk to the police and that he wished to speak with his lawyer again. He also stated that he wished to have his lawyer present. The police told the accused that he was not entitled to have his lawyer present and continued the interview.

The BCCLA argued that individuals who are detained by the police have an ongoing right
to speak to counsel, and that the right is not extinguished by simply providing an individual
with a one-time opportunity to speak to his or her lawyer at the beginning of a detention.

The BCCLA was represented by Warren B. Milman and Michael Feder of

McCarthy Tétrault LLP. The argument the BCCLA filed in the case is available here.

What: BCCLA comment on Supreme Court of Canada decision

When: Decision released Friday, October 8, 2010 at 9:45 (EST). Comment available
before and after decision.

Where: The decision will be made available on the Supreme Court of Canada’s website
after 9:45 a.m.(EST): http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/

Who: Michael Feder, counsel for the BCCLA, and Grace Pastine, Litigation Director of the
BCCLA, will be available for comment at the numbers below.

Michael Feder, Counsel for the BCCLA: (604) 643-5983
Grace Pastine, BCCLA Litigation Director: [email protected] or (778) 241-7183