Charter: Rights to Counsel

Charter: Rights to Counsel Section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that everyone has the right on arrest or detention to be informed promptly of the reasons for their detention and to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right. This right is most often infringed when police investigate people who they believe have committed criminal offences and fail to provide them with an opportunity to speak with a lawyer before they are questioned by police. Quite often an accused person will not understand the jeopardy he is facing when he is charged with a criminal offence. It is important that he be advised of his right to speak with a lawyer so that he can be properly advised by the lawyer on whether or not he should make a statement to police and the risks associated with making such a statement. The failure on the police to advise an accused person of this right prior to making a statement may render the entire statement inadmissible at trial. The cases below show examples of instances where an accused was denied his right to speak with a lawyer prior to making a statement. In these cases, the statements were held to be inadmissible against the accused at their trial.