Oct 19, 2012 / 7:42 am
The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for a high school teacher whose school-issued computer was found to contain nude photos of a female student.
The Ontario Court of Appeal had ruled that some of the material in the case was inadmissible because police didn't get a warrant to search Richard Cole's computer, although the school principal had turned the laptop over to the authorities.
In a 6-1 decision, the high court overturned that, saying the warrantless search was not an egregious breach of charter rights and that admitting the evidence from the computer at trial would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
The court said Cole did have a reasonable expectation of privacy with the computer, but if police had asked for a warrant, they would have received one and found the evidence.
Justice Rosalie Abella dissented, saying the police search without a warrant was a serious breach of charter rights.
Cole was a computer teacher who accessed a male student's email account, discovered nude pictures of a female student and copied them onto his work laptop, where a school technician discovered them while doing maintenance.
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