Security screening at Toronto Police HQ could have ‘chilling effect’ on public access, lawyers say

Security screening at Toronto Police HQ could have ‘chilling effect’ on public access, lawyers say

Lawyers are siding with a recent motion put forth to end security searches of people attending Toronto Police disciplinary hearings.

Lawyer Selwyn Pieters filed a motion Nov. 28 to Toronto Police hearings officer Insp. Richard Hegedus, objecting to the mandatory security screening the force recently put in place at the entranceway of its downtown headquarters.

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Security searches such as this “can often represent a barrier to public attendance,” said Ottawa criminal lawyer Michael Spratt, of Abergel Goldstein and Partners LLP.

“It is particularly troubling that when police are accused of violations of their sworn duties and accused of intimidation and violence, the public that was subject to the intimidation and violence must subject themselves to further police searches in order to give evidence or witness the hearing,” said Spratt. “These types of police misconduct [hearings] should not be conducted at police headquarters. They should be held in accessible and neutral locations to encourage public participation and limit any appearance of bias.”

Read the full article: Lawyer’s Daily