Significant decision opens possibility of stopping all fingerprinting at Montreal's Municipal Court
PRESS POINT: Monday, October 17, 10am
SPVM Centre operationnel sud, 980 rue Guy
Jaggi Singh will be present to answer questions about this decision between 10am and 10:30am in front of the SPVM’s Centre-Operationnel Sud (980 rue Guy) where he was originally supposed to be fingerprinted and photographed.
MONTREAL, Monday, October 17, 2016 — An anti-deportations protester, Jaggi Singh, won a significant court decision this past Friday.
Judge Randall Richmond of Montreal's Municipal Court ruled that Singh was not required to provide fingerprints or photographs in relation to a pending criminal charge. The judgment opens up the possibility to stop all fingerprinting in relation to summary charges, particularly all cases at Montreal’s Municipal Court and similar courts across Quebec and Canada.
-> The decision by Judge Randall Richmond is linked here : www.solidarityacrossborders.
-> Jaggi Singh’s original motion to prevent fingerprints in linked here: www.solidarityacrossbord
In his decision, Judge Richmond writes: "I conclude that a defendant cannot be compelled to give his fingerprints for a hybrid offence after the Crown has made an election to proceed summarily." [paragraph 71]
During oral arguments, prosecutor Alexander Tandel, who was defending fingerprinting, stated: "Mr. Singh is [saying] that for the last countless number of decades, the way the criminal justice system has been working in Canada is faulty. He's asking for the justice system in Canada not to have any ability to control the accused that are appearing on their charges." [cited by CBC Montreal: www.cbc.ca/news/cana
In the end, Singh succeeded in making the point that fingerprints and photographs were being compelled improperly for summary offenses, which account for the bulk of criminal charges.
In Singh’s words: “Police and prosecutors cannot take fingerprints for summary offenses, ever. It’s clear that fingerprinting for anything happening at Montreal’s Municipal Court, by way of example, is improper, and the next step is to stop fingerprinting there all together.”
Contempt of Court: Legal Clinic By and For Social Movements, which supported Singh's motion, has issued a community advisory providing background information about challenging the practice of fingerprinting and photographs. Their advisory is linked here: www.solidarityacrossborders.or
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