Andrei Bykovets v. His Majesty the King
(Alberta) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Constitutional law - Canadian charter (Criminal), Search and seizure (s. 8) - Constitutional law — Charter of Rights — Search and seizure — Investigation related to purchase of virtual gift cards with fraudulent credit card information — Police obtaining internet protocol (“IP”) addresses to locate residences — Whether reasonable expectation of privacy attaches to IP address — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 8.
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In September 2017, the police commenced an investigation related to the purchase of virtual gift cards with fraudulent credit card information. The police was told that the fraudulent online transactions used two IP addresses. The police obtained warrants to search the two residences associated with the IP addresses. The appellant was arrested and charged with 33 offences relating to the possession and use of third parties’ credit cards and personal identification documents, and firearms. The appellant filed a notice alleging the breach of his rights under s. 8 of the Charter as well as other rights. The trial judge found that it was not objectively reasonable to recognize a subjective expectation of privacy in an IP address used by an individual. She concluded that there was no breach of s. 8. The appellant was eventually convicted of 13 of the original 33 counts, which he appealed. The majority of the Court of Appeal of Alberta dismissed the appeal. It found that the trial judge correctly interpreted the scope of the law that governed her s. 8 analysis. The majority concluded that she applied the correct interpretation to her factual findings, which reveal no palpable or overriding error. Veldhuis J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. She found that the appellant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the IP addresses and that his s. 8 rights were violated.
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