If you have been accused of a crime, the best way to protect yourself is to engage the services of a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is A Strip Search?
In criminal matters, there are numerous types of searches that police officers may conduct, including frisks, partially clothed, and full strip searches.
The removal or rearrangement of clothes in order to conduct a visual exam of private parts of one’s body (breast area for women, genitals, and/or anal region). The landmark decision in R v. Golden dealt with the question of the legality of strip searches at a great length. The court in Golden unanimously declared the conduct of strip searches as humiliating and morally degrading, as such demands a strong legal basis to be carried out.
As an invasive procedure, strip searches require the prisoners to take off all their clothes, and all the body parts are inspected. It is pertinent to note that a warrant is not needed following an arrest if the police discover there are “reasonable and probable grounds” for carrying out a strip search for the purposes of preserving evidence or finding a weapon. Additionally, the court specified that strip-searching is to be carried out “in the field” (outside of the police station) only when the police can demonstrate urgency or where safety is at stake.
What Factors Make Strip Searching Reasonable And Justifiable?
The Canadian Supreme Court put forth a list of factors that assists in determining whether the strip search has reasonable and legitimate grounds:
- The strip search is required to be authorized by a superior/supervising officer.
- The strip search is to be conducted in a safe manner.
- There must be an officer of the same gender as the accused to conduct the strip search.
- The number of officers should be no more than necessary.
- There should be relative privacy for the accused other than the officer conducting the search.
- No more than necessary force should be used.
- The search needs to be completed as fast as possible.
- There should not be any physical contact with the anal/genital/breast region, and
- The accused should be given a chance to remove it themselves or with the aid of a medical official if any items were within a bodily cavity.
A criminal court will analyze those factors to assess each individual strip search that comes before them to determine whether it was reasonably conducted within the circumstances. A finding in favour of the accused could possibly eliminate specific evidence at trial or warrant other Charter remedies.
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