SCC to rule on limits of police search and seizure of laptops and cell phones

Ottawa –  The Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision on Thursday, November 7, 2013 in R. v. Vu. This case concerns whether a search warrant for documents can also allow the search and seizure of personal computers and mobile phones found inside a home. The BC Civil Liberties Association is an intervener in this case.

In this case, a warrant was issued to search for evidence related to the possible theft of electricity at a house in Langley, BC. The police found pot plants in the basement and two computers and a cell phone in the living room. The police examined and seized the computers and the phone. The police later arrested Mr. Vu because of information found on the computers and the phone.

The BCCLA takes the position that applying the ordinary rules of search and seizure to new technologies will greatly expand police search powers and chip away at privacy rights. The BCCLA argued that a warrant must specifically authorize a computer search for the search to be lawful.

The BCCLA is represented in this case by Gerald Chan and Nader Hasan of Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan.

The BCCLA’s argument in this case is available here >>

What:  Supreme Court of Canada to deliver its decision in R. v. Vu

When:  Reasons for judgment will be delivered on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 6:45 am PST / 9:45 am EST

Where:  Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, ON)

Who:  Lawyers for the BCCLA available for comment