In R. v. Feeney, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned Michael Feeney’s conviction for second degree murder on the basis that the police had unlawfully entered his home without a warrant, and obtained evidence from him without informing him of his right to counsel.
The evidence in question was excluded on the grounds that the Charter had altered the previous common law test for entering a suspect’s home without a warrant. The Feeney case stands for the proposition that judicial authorization is required for the police to enter a private home and forcibly make an arrest. The Court overturned its previous decision on the matter (R. v. Landry), at paragraph 44 of the reasons for judgement, as follows:
The analysis in Landry was based on a balance between the individual’s privacy interest in the dwelling house and society’s interest in effective police protection. This Court held that the latter interest prevailed and warrantless arrests in dwelling houses were permissible in certain circumstances. While such a conclusion was debatable at the time, in my view, the increased protection of the privacy of the home in the era of the Charter changes the analysis in favour of the former interest: in general, the privacy interest outweighs the interest of the police and warrantless arrests in dwelling houses are prohibited.
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