GN denies allegation of illegal searches at Iqaluit courthouse
In answer to the question posed in the headline “Did Nunavut government do illegal searches at courthouse?” published online April 9, 2012 in a letter to the editor, I would like to clarify that the Government of Nunavut did not perform illegal searches of individuals at the Iqaluit courthouse.
There were no searches of persons entering the courthouse as implied by the author of the April 9 letter.
As reported in two news stories in the Nunatsiaq News on March 27, and again on March 28, 2012, His Honour Justice Mahar made an order that was posted on the door of the courtroom stating that:
“….to better safeguard public safety and good order during this proceeding, this court does order and direct that all members of the public seeking to enter this courtroom be subject to search by the sheriff or by peace officers under his direction.”
Justice Mahar had full legal authority to make such an order in relation to those entering the courtroom during those proceedings, as judges have legal authority to control courtroom security in the course of specific proceedings before them; therefore, the “wanding” of persons entering the courtroom by the sheriff was lawful.
Norman M. Tarnow
Acting Deputy Minister of Justice
Government of Nunavut
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