Since the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada has frequently considered what investigative techniques employed by police are disreputable to the justice system at large. The technique of most importance is the constitutional provision that allows the judiciary to exclude evidence based on such considerations—section 24(2) of the Charter. Since establishing the system’s repute is part of the formal legal test for admissibility of improperly obtained evidence, judges typically perform a mental exercise, imagining what the “reasonable person” would find acceptable.
The aim of this study is to compare the outcomes of five of the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark section 24(2) analyses with public opinion as to when evidence is justly excluded from criminal trials. Accordingly, this study includes a survey conducted in 2011 to more fully understand what evidence-gathering measures are truly disreputable in the eyes of the Canadian citizenry. The survey was designed and administered for a graduate research paper in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy at the University of Guelph. The survey is intended to capture any variance or overlap between the views of a sample of ordinary citizens and the Supreme Court of Canada’s judgments on evidence exclusion.