PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD THE EXCLUSION OF EVIDENCE: SECTION 24(2) OF THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
AbstractSection 24(2) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that evidence obtained in violation of the Charter shall be excluded if its admission "would bring the administration of justice into disrepute". The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the rationale for section 24(2) is the maintenance of public respect, for the administration of justice and that the standard for determining disrepute is not the personal values of the judge but rather the values of the ordinary reasonable Canadian. A public opinion survey was designed to test the judiciary's claim that their decisions reflect community values. This article describes the survey methodology and analyzes the data on public attitudes towards the admissibility of evidence. A comparison of judicial and public opinion demonstrates that the public apply the same criteria as judges do and in a similar manner, but that the public appears less willing to exclude evidence in some circumstances where the courts would clearly require exclusion. This gap between public and judicial opinion on the admissibility of evidence brings into question the Supreme Court's stated rationale for section 24(2) and the standard for its application.
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