Should You Be Able To Google For A Lawyer While Under Arrest?

A Canadian judge has ruled that police must provide accused, arrested individuals with internet access so that they can find a lawyer. Do you think this is a good idea?

The ruling, in which the judge compared internet accesses to having a phone book to hand, was spurred by a case involving 19-year-old Christopher McKay. When arrested, he made one phone call for help but was unsuccessful and gave up — later claiming that he thought he was only allowed one go, like in the movies. The judge believed things would be different if he had been given access to a computer, writing:

"In the year 2013 it is the Court's view that all police stations must be equipped with Internet access and detainees must have the same opportunities to access the Internet to find a lawyer as they do to access the telephone book to find a lawyer."

It's certainly a rare example of forward-thinking in the law, but do you agree with it? Should arrested individuals be able to hunt out support online? [The Star via Michael Geist via Boing Boing]

Picture: AP


Comments

    Why would it not be a good idea?

      I guess they may be concerned about the potential problems with giving people who are under arrest internet access. My first reaction would be to say filter out what can/can't be done on the machine, but then you're essentially giving the police control over your options which is tricky business.

        What are they going to do, google "how to escape police jail" ?

          Well depending on what they were arrested for they could do things that mess with the investigation, warn accomplices, leak information, etc. I know most of that's possible with a phone call, but with internet access it could be more efficient. Also in regards to cyber crime it's as good as letting them go home and neaten up.

          I'm not saying it's a bad idea but I could see why they'd want to take their time and do it right.

          Last edited 21/02/13 1:41 pm

            I would find it hard to do most of those things with the internet access at my workplace, so locking it down at gaol should be easy enough.

    What is the alternative? Are people meant to remember the number of their lawyer (or guess one at random if they don't have a criminal lawyer normally)? I certainly wouldn't be using YellowPages (in Aust) to find one.

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