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Police cameras crack crime ring, murder scheme

The Story

Canada's police forces are going high-tech. Near Ottawa, a sting operation catches people selling stolen goods. The trap: a house wired to the rafters with surveillance cameras and microphones. In Toronto, hidden hotel room cameras catch the Canadian head of the Ku Klux Klan hiring a hit man. As we see in this Fifth Estate item, most of the accused are convicted: they have no defence against the videotape they are shown. 

Medium: Television
Program: The Fifth Estate
Broadcast Date: Feb. 19, 1985
Guest(s): Michael Caroline, Paul Chaytor, Nelson Kincaid, Bob Patterson, Rod Williams
Host: Hana Gartner
Duration: 8:59

Did You know?

• James Alexander McQuirter was an outspoken Canadian racist who helped start the Ku Klux Klan in Toronto in 1976. He soon became the group's "grand wizard" and opened a public office in Toronto's Riverdale neighbourhood in 1980. At its peak, McQuirter claimed, the Ku Klux Klan had over 2,000 Canadian members; police estimated the number at about 70. McQuirter's imprisonment was largely responsible for the group's decline in Canada.

• In 1981, McQuirter was arrested in a bizarre plot by Canadian and American white supremacists, with Mafia funding, to overthrow the government of the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica. The plan, called "Operation Red Dog," was to have netted the supremacists a base of operations and lucrative illegal businesses. It was foiled by the FBI, and the participants were arrested. McQuirter, who had boasted of the plan to the Toronto media, was sentenced to two years in prison.

• While in prison for the Dominica plot, McQuirter (then 24) was sentenced to serve eight more years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He had paid an undercover policeman posing as a hitman $2,000 to murder former Klansman Gary MacFarlane, who he believe was interfering with Klan activities.
• McQuirter also received a concurrent sentence of five years in prison for forging cheques, passports and other documents.

• Canadians are protected by two federal privacy laws; the Privacy Act (1983) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (2001). The Privacy Act obliges federal government departments and agencies to respect the privacy rights of Canadians by placing limits on the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
• The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act sets out ground rules for how private sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities.

• There are other laws governing privacy, including provincial health care regulations, the federal Bank Act and various consumer protection laws.
• The Criminal Code (Part XV, Special Procedures and Powers) authorizes judges to issue written warrants authorizing peace officers to "use any device or investigative technique or procedure or do any thing described in the warrant that would, if not authorized, constitute an unreasonable search or seizure in respect of a person or a person's property."

• "A warrant issued under subsection (1) that authorizes a peace officer to observe, by means of a television camera or other similar electronic device, any person who is engaged in activity in circumstances in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy shall contain such terms and conditions as the judge considers advisable to ensure that the privacy of the person or of any other person is respected as much as possible."


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