Top Court To Review Pot and Privacy

Top Court To Review Pot and Privacy
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2003 at 09:49:49 PT
By Windsor Star Staff and News Services
Source: Windsor Star 
The case of a Kingsville handyman busted for a hydroponic marijuana growing operation in his house has made it to the highest court in the land.The Supreme Court of Canada announced Thursday it has accepted the case to discover whether Walter Tessling's privacy rights were violated by police when they uncovered his pot farm through the use of aerial infra-red technology.
Tessling won an appeal earlier this year with a judgment police have to obtain search warrants for that particular type of surveillance, which can detect unusual heat patterns emanating from a house ? like that generated from a hydroponic operation."The nature of the intrusion is subtle, but almost Orwellian in its theoretical capacity," the ruling said.Frank Miller, Tessling's lawyer, said the decision will be important because of the privacy implications for Canadians. "The ugly part about this is the police wouldn't have to be basing their surveillance on any particular information," Miller said. "They could blanket whole neighbourhoods with infra-red cameras hoping to pick up heat."There are about 500 cases before Canadian courts that could be jeopardized with a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court.But Miller said he didn't think the ruling would cause many problems for police."They would just have to gather their evidence and get a search warrant," he said.Though he has been acquitted, an unfavorable ruling would mean Tessling could be retried on the original charges, Miller added.Tessling was charged in May 1999 with trafficking and several weapons offences after police raided his Kingsville home. Some of the evidence to justify the raid was gathered with Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) aerial cameras. Charter question The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether the cameras violate Charter of Rights protection against unreasonable search and seizure. While FLIR technology can detect heat patterns it cannot determine their exact nature.Miller is not surprised the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court but he didn't think it would happen this quickly."I expected it to go through another appeals process," he said. "But this is the kind of thing I expected to get there (Supreme Court) at some juncture. In the U.S. police have to get a search warrant to use thermal cameras." Complete Title: Top Court To Review Pot and Privacy: Windsor Case Focus of RulingSource: Windsor Star (CN ON)Published: Friday, August 29, 2003Copyright: The Windsor Star 2003Contact: letters win.southam.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Camera Ruled an Invasion of Privacy Curbs Use of Heat-Seeking Cameras -- Canada Archives
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