Judge tosses drunk-driving charges for woman filmed while using OPP toiletThe Ottawa woman’s Charter rights and right to dignity were infringed when she was forced to use the toilet under a surveillance camera in a Toronto OPP holding cell.
Drunk-driving charges against an Ottawa woman were stayed after a judge ruled her Charter rights were violated when she was filmed using the toilet in a Toronto OPP holding cell.
Ontario Court Justice Paul Reinhardt found there was “no legitimate basis” for recording Angela Smith, an Ottawa chiropractor, according to his written decision released Monday.The judge ruled Smith’s personal privacy and right to dignity were infringed when she was forced to use the toilet under surveillance in the holding cell of a Toronto OPP detachment.
Reinhardt also found Smith had to ask for toilet paper and was not given feminine hygiene products when she requested them.
Smith was arrested in 2012 after she was pulled over on the westbound 401 from Oshawa. She pleaded not guilty in March 2013.
In May, Smith’s lawyer, Lorne Sabsay, brought an application before the judge arguing her Charter rights against unreasonable search or seizure had been breached.
The court heard testimony that OPP cells have been video-monitored since 2010 and the digital files stored on internal servers.Smith testified that as she went to use the toilet, she looked up to see a camera facing her, which “appeared to fully capture her naked lower torso and her fully exposed private parts.”
Smith told the judge she was “surprised and embarrassed, and immediately became upset” when she spotted the camera.
In his decision, Reinhardt also found the testimony of two OPP officers on their response to the use of the toilet and need for sanitary products both “unsatisfactory” and “unsettling . . . as if these personal issues didn’t merit much time or thought.”Similar cases have recently been brought before the courts.
In 2012, a woman in York Region, Stephanie Mok, had her charges stayed when she was filmed on the toilet in a holding cell following an impaired driving charge. The trial judge in that case called it a “degrading, humiliating, abhorrent, and demeaning invasion of privacy.”
Earlier this year, Superior Court Justice Cary Boswell overturned that decision on appeal from the Crown, but maintained Mok’s Charter rights had been breached.
Boswell also had words for York Regional Police on changing their practices for monitoring people in custody.
“I would hope, and expect, that with the Court’s guidance, the YRPS executive will make the decision to effect change in the way they monitor detainees in their cells,” Boswell wrote in an earlier decision. “It can be achieved either with repositioning the video cameras, or by installing modesty screens that cover the lower part of a person’s body while using the toilet.”Smith’s lawyer said it’s clearly an ongoing issue with certain police forces.
“These are not people who have been convicted of any crime,” Sabsay said. “There’s a certain reduced level of privacy or expectation of privacy that one would expect to have in a police station — it’s not nonexistent. We don’t cease to become human beings and all of a sudden become people with no rights and no privacy, just because it’s alleged we’ve committed an offence.”
Reinhardt’s reasons found Smith’s case differed from Mok’s in several ways, “the most important of which is that this is no longer a new phenomenon,” Sabsay said.He added there was no indication from any of the officers who testified in Smith’s case that the cell surveillance policy will be changed.
The Crown has not indicated whether it will appeal Reinhardt’s decision.http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2014/ ... oilet.htmlhttp://www.cambridgetimes.ca/news-story ... pp-toilet/