R. v. Bartle, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 173

R. v. Bartle established a positive duty on the part of police officers to provide detained persons with an opportunity to exercise their right to retain and instruct counsel. In this case, police officers informed Mr. Bartle of his right to counsel when they took him into custody for suspected impaired driving, but failed to advise him of a toll-free number that he could call to speak with a duty counsel lawyer.

The Supreme Court of Canada excluded the evidence against Bartle (i.e. incriminating statements and breath samples) on the grounds that the police had not informed him of his Section 10(b) Charter rights. Chief Justice Lamer concluded this remedy was necessary because:

“Imposing additional informational requirements on the police is justified by the need to fulfil the underlying purpose of the Charter‑guaranteed right to counsel. Central to s. 10(b) is the information component, which is what is provided universally to all detainees and upon which subsequent correlative duties on the state hinge.”

Decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on September 29, 1994
Click here for the full text of the decision.

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Filed under Section 10: Rights on Arrest, Section 10(b): Right to Counsel, Section 11: Legal Rights, Section 11(c): Self Incrimination

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