Constitution Act, 1982, Canadian charter of rights and freedoms
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
In order for restrictions on the use of body armor to be consistent with the spirit and wording of the Charter, it must be given to anyone with a reasonable cause to fear for their safety. Certainly someone fearing an assault from a gang (or rival gang) has reasonable justification for wearing body armor.
On the issue of the rights of the accused and the duty of the government and police to uphold our rights:
1.) If a gang member was being shot at, the police have a duty to protect the life of that gang member. It is illegal for anyone to knowingly take actions that contribute to the death of another person.
2.) It would be illegal to take away the helmet of a speeding motorcyclist claiming that the helmet assisted them in exceeding the speed limit. It would be illegal to take away the knee pads of a trespassing skateboarder claiming the knee pads helped the skateboarder break the law.
3.) For a police officer to drop off a suspect in the middle of the dessert is illegal, because they can reasonably assume that that person will be harmed or killed.
Therefor: To take away body armor from a suspect or ex-con that has reason to believe that they may be harmed is also illegal. If a government body or agent prevented an individual from wearing body armor, and that individual was killed by a bullet that under normal circumstances would not have killed them if they were allowed to wear body armor, then that government agent could, theoretically, be charged in connection with the murder.
Introducing an amendment to the criminal code that made it an offense to commit an offense that was assisted by body armor is legal and effective, though only minimally. Only reducing the demand for drugs through prevention and treatment, and ending gangs’ monopoly of drug profits, will end future gang killings.
As a society, we cannot allow politicians to take away our Charter Rights so that they can issue a press release and appear as tough they have a policing solution to the problems surrounding drug addiction.