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Court says BlackBerry search unconstitutional

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jun 18, 2014 - 3:06 PM |
VANCOUVER - The B.C. Court of Appeal says police violated the rights of a man later convicted in a kidnapping when they searched two of his BlackBerry smartphones without a warrant.

But the court has nonetheless dismissed the man's appeal, concluding the evidence should still be allowed into the case.

Rajan Singh Mann was convicted for his role in a 2006 kidnapping in the Vancouver area, in part due to evidence the RCMP retrieved from two BlackBerrys after his arrest.

Mann's lawyers argued the RCMP should have obtained a warrant before searching the phones, because such devices can hold vast amounts of highly personal information.

The B.C. Appeal Court says a series of judgments in recent years have made it clear smartphones cannot be searched without a warrant, which means the search violated Mann's charter rights.

However, the court says those rulings weren't in place when police conducted the searches in 2008, so the evidence is admissible.

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