DETERMINING DISREPUTE: OPINION POLLS AND THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
AbstractEvidence may be ruled inadmissible under section 24(2) if it was obtained in contravention of the Charter, and the court thinks its admission "would bring the administration of justice into disrepute". Public opinion polls may help the courts to determine the likelihood of public disrepute in such matters. The hearsay rule should not prevent the use of opinion poll evidence for that purpose in appropriate circumstances. Many factors must be taken into account in assessing its reliability and relevance, however. Because it is long-range "tides" of public opinion, rather than short-term fluctuations, with which courts should properly be concerned, they should give more weight to general and cumulative opinion poll data than to that which is specific and immediate.
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