Sophon Sek is not the kind of guy most girls would bring home to mom. It is alleged by police that he’s a gang member and drug dealer, and he’s currently facing manslaughter charges in relation to the Surrey Six murder case a few years back, where two innocent bystanders were murdered during a gang hit.
But bad guy or not, he, just like the rest of us, actually has the Right to be free from illegal searches. That basic human Right is guaranteed to us under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
RCMP constables manage to consistently (conveniently?) forget that in their zeal to get the bad guy.
That over-zealous disregard for our basic human rights has cost them numerous cases, and Sek is the latest beneficiary of the RCMP being held accountable for their illegal actions.
Whether the RCMP likes it or not, merely standing on a street corner (good street, bad street, doesn’t matter) is not grounds to detain and search someone.
Not even if they made a call on their cell phone while starting right at you.
Two Surrey RCMP members arrested Sek after illegally searching him. Their illegal search revealed a small .25 calibre handgun, among other things.
See, that’s the thing about illegal searches. Being correct is not the same as being legal. Police seem to forget that on a far too regular basis.
You want to search someone? Even someone like Sek?
Get a warrant. Have probable cause. And yes, that means something a little more than “he looked at me and made a cell phone call“!
Sek’s lawyer, Terence La Liberte, argued correctly that Sek’s Charter rights had been violated, specifically his right to be be secure against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to not be arbitrarily detained, along with a few other choice violations.
It doesn’t matter that your “hunch” is correct. It is not based in fact. It is not predicated on a search warrant or any other actual evidence.
My “hunch” is that Justin Trudeau is a complete and utter moron. Doesn’t necessarily make it true. Evidence of “the anointed one” being a moron is what makes it true.
Same goes for Sophon Sek. Evidence, not hunches, are required before you can search, seize and detain someone, and even then you’ve got to tell them why they’re being detained and allow them to contact their lawyer.
Sek was allowed none of these basic rights after being illegally searched and detailed by the RCMP.
Thankfully, Justice R. Crawford agreed with the defense that Sek’s Charter Rights had been violated.
“It is a very fine line that the police have to walk, but when they do detain a citizen on the street they have to have reasonable grounds,” Crawford said.
“There was a serious infringement on Mr. Sek’s rights.”
The judge also expressed his concern about members of the public carrying weapons.
“Canada does not look kindly on small handguns being carried and concealed,” he said.
Crawford said that while the issue of guns is important, a citizen’s rights are more important.
“I reluctantly conclude that the evidence of Mr. Sek’s possession of the gun must be excluded.”
Reluctant or not, Crawford made the right decision. Our Charter Rights ARE more important than guns, illegal or not.
Either we have our Charter Rights or we don’t. And if we don’t, this isn’t Canada… it’s some tin-pot third-world dictatorship that merely pays lip-service to human rights, but violates them at every whim, at every opportunity that suits the state.
I’m very grateful to Justice Crawford for reminding the RCMP that we are the former, not the latter kind of nation.
Does that mean I want to see guys like Sek carrying firearms?
Hell no! They give all good and honest firearms owners a bad name.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have exactly the same Rights and Freedoms as you and me.
The RCMP needs to be reminded of that on a far too regular basis, unfortunately.