In the 2010 case of R. v. Sinclair, the Supreme Court of Canada explained how the Charter right to counsel applies in the context of police questioning a detainee. Sinclair constitutes the final instalment in the so-called “interrogation trilogy,” which also includes R. v. Oickle and R. v. Singh. This trilogy of cases, which lays out the legal framework for police interrogation in Canada, has been criticized as providing insufficient safeguards for detainees. Yet, despite the strong reaction from critics, this paper argues that the interrogation trilogy has done little to change Canadian law. The author identifies two main conclusions to be drawn from these cases. First, the Supreme Court has clearly rejected the idea that detainees can cut off interrogation by invoking Charter rights. Second, the voluntary confessions rule has been established as the principal protection for interrogated suspects. The author argues that while the Court’s rejection of questioning cut-off rules was unfortunate, the current system of safeguards centred on the confessions rule may well protect detainees against abuse in the interrogation room better than a system centered on warnings, waivers and questioning cut-off rules.
"The Interrogation Trilogy and the Protections for Interrogated Suspects in Canadian Law."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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