In Tessier, a seven-judge majority of the SCC restored the murder conviction of an Alberta man after deciding how the voluntariness rule applies to individuals who speak to police without being detained.
Samara and ALG's Frank Addario represented the intervenor Canadian Civil Liberties Association in the appeal at the SCC. Samara and Frank argued that a police caution is a precondition to the voluntariness of any statement to police: "No statement is truly voluntary if the individual does not know that they can refuse to speak to the police or, if they decide to speak, anything they say can be used against them." They also argued that cautions are crucial to the fairness of police investigations -- not just the reliability of statements and confessions.
All judges of the SCC agreed that police cautions are important to the fairness of investigations. However, the majority held that police do not need to give cautions in every case.
Samara told the Globe that the SCC majority "misses the point that there is an imbalance of power whenever the police interact with all people – not just suspects." She told Canadian Lawyer that "meaningful choice is an informed choice. Interviewees cannot make meaningful choices without knowing the alternatives and their respective consequences."
To read Samara and Frank's submission to the Supreme Court, please visit the SCC website.