Controversy Over Religious Confessions

Should a person’s bona fide beliefs be used to extract confessions to crimes by the police?

Most would say no, it would violate Charter rights.

What about if the beliefs are not considered mainstream or acceptable, like Vodun, or one of its many derivatives found in the Caribbean?

In what is called the first sting of its kind in the world, ever, police constable Andrew Cooper impersonated an Obeah man to get a confession from Evol Robinson for shootings in the Toronto area.

Although the relationship between a priest is not considered privileged, O’Connor, J., said,

Determining whether Obeah or any other belief system should be accorded protection… is an undertaking that must consider the acute sensitivities attached to religious beliefs and practices, particularly in a multicultural context.

Adrian Humphreys of the National Post comments,

Imagine the uproar if Const. Cooper masqueraded as a priest taking confession from a Catholic suspect, or pretended to be an imam or a rabbi to gain the trust of Muslim or Jewish targets of investigation.

Thanks to Ainsley Brown of University of Westminster law and UWO law for the heads up. 

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