Court Declines to Compel Accused to Provide Smartphone Password


In declining to issue an assistance order compelling an accused to provide the password to his smartphone, Justice Downes’ decision in R v. Shergill , 2019 ONCJ 54 establishes that, at least in some cases, compelling the production of a password for the purposes of building a case against an individual violates the right against self incrimination.

R v. Shergill is another step in the unique search and seizure dynamics involved in the acquisition of evidence from cell phones. Password-protected smart phones in particular present unique challenges to the police and to privacy law as it has developed under the bricks-and-mortar world of the Charter in the last ten years.

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