Forced to give DNA!

The pews were filled with weeping mourners.

“We lay to rest our precious Trisha, brutally taken from us at the tender age of fourteen. A shining light in our community. May God help the good men in blue find her killer.”

Detective Michaels whispered to his partner. “Our main suspect is Ray Willand. Out on parole for aggravated assault. No one’s seen him since the murder. If I find him, he’d better start praying…”

“Take it easy,” his partner Wyley said.

Suddenly, Michaels tensed. “Look who showed up at his own victim’s funeral! It’s Ray!”

The casket was carried out of the church.

Ray slipped out the side door.

The detectives cornered him outside.

“Hey, Ray, what’s up?” Wyley said.

“I’m grieving for a friend,” Ray muttered.

“Funny way to describe the girl you murdered,” Michaels commented.

“You’re harassing me, right outside a church!” Ray said.

“Let’s take you in for questioning, then.”

The detectives went after him in the interrogation room.

“Where were you Tuesday night?,” Michaels asked.

“Scouts meeting.”

“Give us a hair sample and prove you really are a Boy Scout.”

Ray grinned. “I like to make cops work for a living. Get a warrant.”

“Maybe I’ll do that.” Wyley turned to leave. “Michaels will keep you company.”

Michaels leaned in. “So, Ray…guess that leaves the two of us…”

“Hey, I got rights.”

“Sure. Doesn’t every Boy Scout?”

Wyley came back an hour later. “No luck on the warrant. Guess we’ll have to let him go.”

Michaels produced a few strands of hair. “Look what I got!”

“Ray agreed to that?”

“I’m very persuasive.”

“You mean threatening?”

“Whatever. Let’s get it tested.”

It was a match.

Ray was arrested.

“I gave them DNA under threats!” Ray shouted. “I’ll fight this.”


Ray tried to be polite. “They forced me to give DNA! Cops will never behave if you allow evidence gathered through force.”

The police fought back. “What we did wasn’t so bad, considering we’re dealing with a murderer here!”

Should the evidence be allowed? You! Be The Judge. Then look below for the decision.


“I’m ordering a new trial,” the Judge declared. “Charter rights cannot be simply suspended when the police are dealing with serious crimes.”

Today’s column is based on a case from Ontario. The characters and the scenarios are fictional. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. If you have a similar problem, consult a lawyer in your province. Elissa Bernstein is a lawyer and internationally syndicated columnist. Copyright 2009 Haika Enterprises, all rights reserved.