Article by Harrison Jordan, Lift News
In a decision released by the Supreme Court of British Columbia this week, a judge has found that the warrantless search of a checked luggage item from a domestic air flight traveler infringed on the individual’s Section 8 rights to unreasonable search that are found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On March 17, 2013, Daniel Herman was boarding a flight when Canadian Air Transit Authority security personnel ordered a detailed search of one of his checked luggage items after it could not be determined whether an orange mass detected by its sophisticated scanning equipment truly posed the risk of being an explosive material. RCMP officers were called, and they then searched through the bag despite it being closed when the officers arrived.
In addition to the Section 8 Charter claim, Herman also claimed that both his section 9 right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned and his section 10 rights to counsel were also infringed when the RCMP arrested him on the basis of the findings of CATSA personnel and momentarily delayed his section 10 rights to a lawyer.
Justice Davies of the Supreme Court of British Columbia cited the Supreme Court’s Bahay case in concluding that the warrantless search conducted by the RCMP was unreasonable, contrary to Herman’s reasonable privacy interests, and could not withstand Charter scrutiny—even though the initial search by CATSA security personnel did not breach his rights.
Moreover, the judge did not side with Mr. Herman on the claims of section 9 and 10 breaches, finding that “ such breaches were so inconsequential that substantive recognition of them would trivialize Charter rights.”