PSIS - Security Guard Study Guide Canadian Legal System
Private Security and Investigative Services
Security Guard Test Preparation Guide
Section 7 – Canadian Legal System
Security guards work within the Canadian legal system. They need to be familiar with the Criminal Court System, the Ontario Evidence Act, the Canada Evidence Act and how these apply to their positions to ensure the information they obtain is admissible in court. They should have an understanding of the differences between federal, provincial and municipal law and the differences between criminal and civil law. They should have an understanding of the hierarchy of the court system and the requirements for the admissibility of evidence.
Canadian Criminal Court System
Security guards may be required to prepare for legal proceedings, present evidence, prepare themselves and/or witnesses for testimony and follow up on the outcome of court proceedings. Security guards need a general understanding that all investigations should be concluded as if the case could potentially go to trial and therefore handle themselves accordingly to ensure that no procedural or administrative mistakes are made.
Evidence Handling Techniques
Where police are not immediately available, security guards may be called to secure evidence that may be used in court. They should know how to collect and preserve evidence while preventing it from becoming contaminated. They should also know how to present admissible evidence in court. The six core steps for containing evidence are collect, secure, preserve, identify, ensure continuity, and log.
Care and Control of Evidence
In the event of an incident security guards should treat all evidence as though it could potentially be used in a trial. When physical evidence is presented at a trial, a chain of custody of the uninterrupted control of evidence must be clearly shown; the evidence must be properly identified and must be relevant to the case before the court. If the security guard must collect the evidence, the bag in which it is contained should be marked with the security guard’s initials and the time and date when gathered. It is important to limit the number of individuals who handle the evidence to the smallest number possible and properly document each transfer in order to maintain the chain of custody.
Criminal Law is the standard of behaviour that governs all people in our society. Its main purpose is to protect all citizens, keeping communities peaceful and safe by regulating our conduct. A person accused of committing a criminal offence is entitled to appear in a court of law to answer to the accusation. The Court must be satisfied that the person is guilty of the conduct – that is, an offence detailed in the Criminal Code has been committed – before punishing the person. The Court can be satisfied of this in one of two ways: by the accused person admitting guilt (a guilty plea), or by finding the person guilty after trial. The federal government has the responsibility of creating criminal laws and has placed the bulk of them in a comprehensive piece of legislation called the Criminal Code.
Provinces have passed acts which create provincial offences. Provincial offences in Ontario are prosecuted under the Provincial Offences Act and are processed much like summary conviction offences under the Criminal Code.
By definition, these laws are specific to each municipality. Security guards need to be aware of the by-laws that are specific to their area. Typically, each municipality will have by-laws in place to regulate things such as noise limits, occupancy limits, traffic rules, etc.
Security guards can access the list of by-laws in their area by contacting their municipality’s town or city hall, or by visiting its website.