Can a police officer make a warrantless search of a bedroom in an emergency situation?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from R. v. Pillay, 2004 CanLII 17544 (ON SC):

[57] In Wofford v. State of Arkansas, 330 Ark. 8 (Sup. Ct. 1997), the court noted that police can make a warrantless search in emergency situations. Although police may receive a report of death, these reports frequently prove to be inaccurate and ‘a spark of life remains’. Therefore, the officer’s entry into a bedroom was found to be related to the objectives of the authorized intrusion into the residence.

[58] The issue in United States v. Holloway, 290 F.3d 1331 (11th Cir. 2002) was whether the police may conduct a warrantless search of a private residence in response to an emergency situation reported by an anonymous 911 caller. The court found that when exigent circumstances demand an immediate response, particularly where there is a danger to human life, protection of the public becomes paramount and can justify a limited, warrantless intrusion into the home. Once in the home, officers may seize any evidence found within plain view. Exigent circumstances are an exception to the prohibition against warrantless searches.

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