Make victims’ rights the priority

'I don’t think the Supreme Court has gone far enough by allowing police only restricted rights to search cellphones'

Editor, The News:

Re: Not reasonable (News Views, Dec. 12).

The police searching your cell phone is a major privacy issue. That my be true, depending on your perspective.

The majority of us have been a victim of crime. Whether you’ve had your house or business broken into, your wallet stolen, or your cell phone stolen, it’s a major invasion of your privacy.

The criminals ransack your house, look in your drawers, use your toothbrush, and copy any risque photos that you may have had on your phone.

To make matters worse, the criminals then use the stolen property or identification to fraudulently obtain goods and services in your name, destroying your credit and costing you even more money to get your good name back.

The police then arrest a suspect and locate some of your belongings. But in an attempt to locate other evidence, conduct an “unreasonable” search of the suspect’s cell phone.

Fortunately, due to the “unreasonable” search, police are able to locate and return more of your belongings. Of course, the case gets thrown out in court because the criminal’s privacy rights were violated.

Who’s been violated, you or the criminal?

In our current legal system, it’s the criminal who fell on hardship and the true victim receives no compensation for the stress and expenses incurred.

I don’t think the Supreme Court has gone far enough by allowing police only restricted rights to search cell phones. It’s about time victim’s rights become the priority of the courts.

Of course, police need to justify their actions, and be held accountable for grievous actions.

But who’s holding the criminals responsible?

Let’s look at this issue from a taxpayer’s perspective.

Policing costs are high and consume a large percentage of every city budget.

Also, police costs continue to rise, but statistical crime rates are dropping.

Doesn’t seem to add up, or does it?

The argument put forward by the author of the original article, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, is to protect everyone’s absolute privacy rights 100 per cent of the time.

This will lead to increasing policing costs with less police officers on the street.

More police officers will be sitting in the office doing court related paper work, like search warrants, instead of being on the streets, preventing crime and catching criminals.

As a taxpayer, I want police on the streets, preventing and solving crime.

There has to be a balance between privacy and maintaining the law.

We all want to be protected from an unreasonable search.

Of course, being part of the majority of the population who are law abiding citizens, I’ve never been arrested, and subsequently searched.

So maybe I just don’t have the right perspective.

Craig Gibson

Pitt Meadows