Admission of Evidence

From Riverview Legal Services

Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, 2002 FCA 309 (CanLII), (2003) 2 FC 165

[70]Counsel for Mr. Schmeiser acknowledged that at common law, illegally obtained evidence is generally admissible in a civil dispute, but he argued that this Court should change the common law on that point to reflect the values underlying section 24 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [being Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, Schedule B, Canada Act 1982, 1982, c. 11 (U.K.) [R.S.C., 1985, Appendix II, No. 44]]:

24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

(2) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

[71]The Trial Judge noted that section 24 of the Charter has no application to a dispute between private parties in which no agency of government is a party: RWDSU v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd., 1986 CanLII 5 (SCC), (1986) 2 S.C.R. 573, at pages 593-604. He went on to say that this is not an appropriate case in which to move to evolve the principles of the common law as suggested by counsel for Mr. Schmeiser, because under the principles in R. v. Collins, 1987 CanLII 84 (SCC), (1987) 1 S.C.R. 265, the admission of the evidence would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. I agree with his reasoning on this point, and his conclusion. In my view, the Trial Judge did not err in admitting the testing evidence from the roadside samples or the samples from the Humboldt Flour Mill.