2010 Oct 08 6:50 pm (1 hour, 46 minutes ago)
By John Ward, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – The American Miranda rule that gives a suspect the right to have a lawyer present during questioning has no place here, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.
In three related decisions, a sharply divided court fine-tuned the rules on suspects' right to counsel.
In the main case, the justices ruled 5-4 that the Charter of Rights does not confer a right to have a lawyer present during interrogation.
That means Miranda, a staple of TV cop shows where lawyers whisper to their clients while detectives ask questions, does not apply.
The court also held that suspects have no right to interrupt an interrogation to consult again with a lawyer except in some limited circumstances.
They said that while suspects generally have the right to a lawyer of their choice, they must accept another if they cannot contact their own within a reasonable time.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (Left) and Justice Louise Charron (Right) wrote for the majority in all three cases.
Justices Morris Fish and Louis Lebel wrote sharp dissents in two of the three cases, with Justice Rosalie Abella concurring. Justice Ian Binnie contributed his own dissent in the main decision.
McLachlin and Charron were clear in rejecting Miranda. They said there is a right for a suspect to consult a lawyer before questioning and to be informed of that right. But the reason for consultation is to give the suspect legal advice on whether to co-operate. There is no requirement that a lawyer be there for the questioning.
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