Section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that if you are arrested or detained you are to be:

  1. Advised of the reason for your arrest or detention;
  2. Advised of your right to contact counsel forthwith; and
  3. Given a reasonable opportunity to exercise that right.

Many people assume that anytime a police officer or person in authority asks you questions you are entitled to consult with a lawyer.  You only have a right to legal counsel if you are arrested or detained.  Being detained can include a psychological detention.  So in other words, if you are placed in a room and questions are being asked of you and you have a feeling you cannot leave that would constitute a detention.  In those circumstances you would be entitled to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. 

The police are obligated to hold off questioning you until you have had a reasonable opportunity to try and locate counsel.  At 2:00 in the morning that can be a problem.  The McDougall Gauley Defence Group has a 24-hour on-call number that you can call if you are arrested and need counsel. Our contact numbers are:   

Regina: (306) 565-5128
Saskatoon: (306) 665-5412

Next week I will comment on whether you should provide a statement when asked to do so. 

AARON A. FOX, Q.C.
McDougall Gauley Defence Group

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