As Canadians, a portion of our rights that are read to us upon arrest are as follows: "It is my duty to inform you that you have the right to retain and instruct counsel in private without delay, You may call any lawyer you want.....You have the right to a reasonable opportunity to contact counsel. I am not obligated to take a statement from you or ask you to participate in any process which could provide incriminating evidence until you are certain about whether you want to exercise this right (Griffiths, 2011)
It seems pretty straight forward. We get arrested and we are told we can get a lawyer. Although you may not have been through the process, you have probably seen what happens next on the latest episode of law and order or NYPD Blue. You get taken into a tiny room to be questioned by an investigator or two, and your lawyer sits next to you and continually tells the investigators that you have nothing to say (Friedman, 2014). "You have the right to ... not much: Why are there no 'Miranda rights' in our country ?", is an article by Solomon Friedman that explains this is not the case in Canada, and asks the question, Why not?
Missing from this article is an explanation of what Miranda rights are, and how are they different from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Miranda rights, also known as the Miranda warning, is a warning given by police in the United States to suspects in custody before they are interrogated. The name 'Miranda rights' comes from the case Miranda v. Arizona, where the Supreme Court held that the admission of incriminating statements by a suspect who has not been read their rights, violates one's right to council. Therefore if a police officer does not inform a suspect of their Miranda rights, they may not interrogate that person and cannot use that person's statements to incriminate him or her in a court of law (Miranda Warning, 2014). The key difference between the Charter of Rights and the Miranda rights is the presence of a lawyer during interrogation. In the United States your lawyer is allowed be present, in Canada he cannot be present. As well, Canadian suspects do not have the right to interrupt an interrogation to consult again with their lawyer (Ward, 2010).
This article is extremely important because it informs Canadians of what exactly their rights are, and what they are not. Current law in Canada states that once you are arrested and detained you have the right to contact council but you do not have the right to have that council present during your interrogation. However, if you are a youth or a police officer either under investigation or a potential witness, you do get grated the right to have your council present during interrogation (Friedman, 2014). If during your interrogation you decide to use your right to say nothing, police have no obligation to stop questioning you. When this happens it may be confusing to the suspect as to whether or not they are really allowed...