Author Topic: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?  (Read 98 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6970
  • Darwins +601/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« on: February 27, 2015, 07:26:42 PM »
I found this recently:

British Columbia Court of Appeal

R. v. DAVIE (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/R._v._Davie_1980)
1980 CarswellBC 584

R., The Crown
v.
MORRIS DAVIE, Respondent

Docket: Vancouver No. CA 790521
Judgment: September 10, 1980

[Text from http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2vHLnM/jp8atM@C:8AV@nP6-/www.futilitycloset.com/2009/10/11/jackpot/]

In 1980, Morris Davie was accused of setting forest fires and brought to the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to take a lie detector test. He was left alone in a room, where a hidden camera recorded him dropping to his knees and saying, “Oh God, let me get away with it just this once.”

At trial, his lawyer objected to this evidence, arguing that it violated a Canadian law that prohibited the interception of private communications “made under circumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator thereof to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator thereof to receive it.”


The Canadian Law is:

"Pt. IV. 1 of the Criminal Code, originally enacted by the Protection of Privacy Act, 1973-74 (Can.), c. 50, s. 2. A "private communication" is defined by s. 178.1 as follows: "'private communication' means any oral communication or any telecommunication made under circumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator thereof to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator thereof to receive it."

OK. Stop Reading! You are the judge - What is your decision? Is the "Oh God" statement admissible?

>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

The question was, "Is God a person?[1]" The trial judge thought so — he held the videotape inadmissible and Davie was acquitted.

The prosecution appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal disagreed [with the trial judge] however, deciding that a private communication requires an “intended human recipient.”

“In my opinion,” wrote Justice J.A. Hutcheon, “the word ‘person’ is used in the statutes of Canada to describe someone to whom rights are granted and upon whom obligations are placed. There is no earthly authority which can grant rights or impose duties upon God. I can find no reason to think that the Parliament of Canada has attempted to do so in the enactment of sections of the Criminal Code dealing with the protection of privacy.” He ordered a new trial.


At the appeal, there were 3 judges: one dissented, the other two judges agreed:

19 If this statement, [“Oh God, let me get away with it just this once.”] which is crucial, I believe, to the Crown's case, particularly in relation to the issue of corroboration, became evidence, does it not then become the acceptance of something absolutely contrary to the spirit and intent of the legislation?

I can only conclude that the accused intended that his God alone hear this prayer, and not the police.

20 The trial judge then found the statement made by the accused to be a "private communication" and inadmissible.

21 In my opinion, the word "person" is used in the statutes of Canada to describe someone to whom rights are granted and upon whom obligations are placed. There is no earthly authority which can grant rights or impose duties upon God. I can find no reason to think that the Parliament of Canada has attempted to do so in the enactment of sections of the Criminal Code dealing with the protection of privacy.

____________________________________________________________

So, in Canada, prayers are not private, so be careful what you say to God.
 1. As in "'private communication' means any oral communication or any telecommunication made under circumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator thereof to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator thereof to receive it."
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 05:57:09 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Jag

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2140
  • Darwins +226/-7
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 07:58:26 PM »
^^^That's why they are supposed to do it in the closet, with the door shut. You have no right to expect privacy while you're talking to god if you are doing so outside of the closet you were instructed to use for that purpose.

“Be skeptical. But when you get proof, accept proof.” –Michael Specter

Offline Nick

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 11078
  • Darwins +214/-8
  • Gender: Male
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 08:24:26 PM »
I would call God to the stand and ask Him if He received the call.  If so, then it would not be permitted in court.  If it did not get to God then how can it be private between parties?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline lectricpharaoh

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Darwins +6/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Reality is better than Jesus
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 09:06:48 PM »
The initial trial judge should be ashamed of himself.  However, as a fellow Canadian, and a resident of BC no less, I'm glad this nonsense was overturned on appeal.

What I'd really like to see is the abolishing of any special treatment based on religion, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

As a note to you US folks, our justice system differs from yours in a couple of significant aspects.  First, we have a single criminal justice system for the entire country, rather than each province/territory (though some non-criminal laws are left to provincial jurisdiction, like road laws, drinking age, etc).  Second, not only can the defense appeal a conviction, but the prosecution can appeal an acquittal (or even a conviction, if they think the trial judge erred, and they can do better).
The Bible is one of the select few books that is wholly deserving of being burned.
  - Me

Online Nam

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 14111
  • Darwins +398/-93
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm on the road less traveled...
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 09:22:51 PM »
^yeah but you allow serial killers free after a few years in prison[1]

-Nam
 1. like Karla Homolka -- we don't do that. ;) (I know they changed that later on, just pulling hair).
I don't presuppose a god. I presuppose a delusion of something that doesn't exist based off the lack of evidence for it.

-Nam

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6970
  • Darwins +601/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2015, 06:17:16 AM »
One of the problems seems to be that the mere act of recording a person who has been cautioned/Miranderized is a problem – it should not be: both boil down to “If you say anything, we’ll take note of it.”

If he had not been cautioned/Miranderized, is it admissible anyway?

The next is that Protection of Privacy Act, 1973-74 (Can.), c. 50, s. 2. A "private communication" is defined by s. 178.1 as follows: "'private communication' means any oral communication or any telecommunication made under circumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator thereof to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator thereof to receive it."

Let’s say that the accused is sane but talks to himself – is that a communication? He intended to receive the message himself.  What if he had his dog with him and spoke to that?

The dissenting judge[1] Nemetz C.J.B.C. ignored the question of whether God is a person and makes good points. He said:

(1) 'private communication' means any oral communication ...
(2) made under circumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator thereof to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator thereof to receive it.

[…]
10 The important question is whether the statement can be considered to be a "communication" at all. The Oxford English Dictionary, Compact Edition (1971), vol. 1, p. 700, defines "communication" as follows:
2. spec. The imparting, conveying, or exchange of ideas, knowledge, information, etc. (whether by speech, writing or signs).

[It is] clear that an exchange is unnecessary and that it is the act of imparting which is essential […] Did Davie believe that he was imparting ideas, information, etc.? The trial judge said that he did, and that finding is not challenged. He believed he was communicating with a Being who would hear his supplication. Was that belief reasonable? It is surely impossible to suggest that it was not. I conclude, therefore, that the statement was an "oral communication" and, it follows, a "private" one.

11 Accordingly, it is not necessary, in my view, to decide whether "person" includes a theological Person or is limited to natural and artificial persons. It is sufficient if the statement is a communication in that the originator reasonably believes that he is imparting ideas, knowledge, information, etc., in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy. It is then a "private communication".

Nemetz C.J.B.C. is the Chief Justice of BC and no fool. Personally, I think he interpreted the law correctly - the law opposes bugging and secret filming. However, I think from the point of view of Justice, the other two were right.
 1. see the linked article
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline lectricpharaoh

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Darwins +6/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Reality is better than Jesus
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2015, 06:36:45 AM »
^yeah but you allow serial killers free after a few years in prison[1]

-Nam
 1. like Karla Homolka -- we don't do that. ;) (I know they changed that later on, just pulling hair).
Don't get me started on our legal system.  I'm not in favor of the death penalty, for the simple reason that a wrongfully convicted person can be released from prison[2], but not resurrected (at least, not without Jesus honoring his promises about prayer), but I am in favor of life in prison, with no possibility of parole, for murderers.  Canada's criminal justice system doesn't agree, considering it 'cruel and unusual' to deny them even the hope of any release.  We even had the so-called 'faint hope clause', whereby someone who would have to wait longer than 15 years for parole could apply for early parole at the 15-year mark.  Like, what's the fucking point of even having a more severe sentence, then?

I'm also opposed to concurrent sentencing in any form, as it's just a bulk discount if you commit multiple crimes.
 2. David Milgaard is a prime example that's well-known to many Canadians; the Tragically Hip even wrote a song loosely based on the story.
The Bible is one of the select few books that is wholly deserving of being burned.
  - Me

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6970
  • Darwins +601/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 05:00:20 PM »
Like, what's the fucking point of even having a more severe sentence, then?
The theoretical basis of imprisonment is "to punish, educate and reform."

What do you think the point is?

Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online Nam

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 14111
  • Darwins +398/-93
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm on the road less traveled...
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 07:20:33 PM »
You can't rehabilitate prisoners unsegregated. Putting petty criminals in with murderers and rapists just turns some of the petty criminals into murderers and rapists.

-Nam
I don't presuppose a god. I presuppose a delusion of something that doesn't exist based off the lack of evidence for it.

-Nam

Offline lectricpharaoh

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Darwins +6/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Reality is better than Jesus
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #9 on: Today at 05:58:17 AM »
Like, what's the fucking point of even having a more severe sentence, then?
The theoretical basis of imprisonment is "to punish, educate and reform."

What do you think the point is?
I wasn't commenting on the theoretical purpose of imprisonment, but on the idea of concurrent sentencing.  Whatever you believe the purpose of prison is (whether retributive, rehabilitative, or something else), the implementation of concurrent sentencing in practice amounts to a bulk discount on the penalty you pay for committing crimes.  If the sentence for an arbitrary crime is five years in prison, and you commit that crime five times, logic dictates the total sentence should be 25 years.  To make it merely five years sends the message that it's okay to commit additional crimes, as you only serve the longest sentence of the bunch, rather than a cumulative total, when they are served concurrently.

I have never once seen a rationale for concurrent sentencing that made sense.  The closest I've seen was the argument that enough consecutive terms for repeated minor crimes could exceed the sentence for a more serious crime.  However, this isn't an argument against consecutive terms; it's an assertion that the individual terms are too long or short.

To answer your question, though, I think the theoretical purpose of imprisonment is fourfold: punishment, rehabilitation, deterrence, and removal of the convicted party from society.  In practice, though, it generally boils down to #1 and #4.  Deterrence is often touted as a big reason, but my understanding is that deterrence is proportional to the likelihood of being caught and convicted, rather than to the severity of the sentences.
The Bible is one of the select few books that is wholly deserving of being burned.
  - Me

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6970
  • Darwins +601/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: How Private is a Prayer (in Canada)?
« Reply #10 on: Today at 06:57:58 AM »
To answer your question, though, I think the theoretical purpose of imprisonment is fourfold: punishment, rehabilitation, deterrence, and removal of the convicted party from society.
I'm happy with your addition.

A thought experiment: let's assume one man commits an armed robbery and resists arrest by firing at the cops. He is taken alive and convicted. Upon arrival in prison, he is offered a cure for his anti-social behaviour. He accepts and 2 hours after the injection, he suddenly sees the enormity of his crime and wonders why he ever committed it - he can clearly see his previous problems and presents workable solutions to them all. What's more, he goes back to his cell for a few days and writes out a practical plan for the rest of his life.

How long does he need to spend in prison?

Before you answer that question, consider the case of the Canadian guy who was a normal person but then started to develop a sexual desire towards his daughter, then aged 14 years. He went to his doctor who passed him n to a psychologist who them passed him on to a psychiatrist, who ordered an MRI scan of his brain. A benign tumour was found and, upon its removal, all desires had left him and he was back to normal. IIRC, about 5 or 6 years later, he started to develop the same feelings: a new tumour was detected.

I also read a study of the genetic make-up of those in prison for violent crime: a large proportion of them shared a gene. (I'll try and find it, it's quite interesting, and although not conclusive, it is a pointer.)

Quote
In practice, though, it generally boils down to #1 and #4.  Deterrence is often touted as a big reason, but my understanding is that deterrence is proportional to the likelihood of being caught and convicted, rather than to the severity of the sentences.
I agree.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”