ALBERTA, CANADA Defendants have a legal right to Internet access so they can Google search a lawyer, a Canadian court has ruled.
The unusual decision was made after a 19-year-old struggled to find a lawyer using a telephone.
Christopher McKay, who was arrested for driving under the influence, had his cellphone and other personal belongings placed in a police locker, according to the Toronto Star, which first reported the case late last week.
The Star reported the teenager was told he could source a lawyer via a toll-free number or the White and Yellow pages. McKay dialed the toll-free number but was unable to find assistance. He then assumed he'd used his first and only phone call.
Judge Heather Lamoureux of the Provincial Court of Alberta found that Google is the primary source of information for everything from maps to medical care to lawyers. She ruled the failure to provide Internet access meant that the accused's Charter rights had been violated.
"In the year 2013 it is the Court's view that all police stations must be equipped with Internet access and detainees must have the same opportunities to access the Internet to find a lawyer as they do to access the telephone book to find a lawyer," she said.