SA Police Powers - Search Warrant Limitations?

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16 May 2014
I was wondering about the powers issued to police under a search warrant. If police have a warrant to search a premises under the controlled substances act 1984 (SA), I understand that they are able to search people on the premises who aren't listed on the warrant, provided there is suspicion of possessing a controlled substance or evidence. However in the Crimes Act 1914 section 3H (3), it dictates that any person searched must be shown a copy of the warrant. If during the search of the premises and subsequent personal searches, no warrant is produced to anyone at the premises, what legal grounds does a person have to dispute any charges?


Well-Known Member
19 April 2014
If the police have a warrant to search a premises under the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) then that is the Act under which they have their authority and that's the Act they have to comply with. The police obviously informed you/the occupier of the premises that they had a warrant under the Controlled Substances Act, or how would you know? (Is that correct?) Did anyone ask to see a copy of the warrant?

Section 52 gives the police broad powers with a search warrant under the Controlled Substances Act (including that the 'police officer may search any person whom the officer reasonably suspects has in his or her possession any substance or equipment in contravention of this Act') and doesn't appear to require the police to provide a copy of the warrant.

So if they did find you in possession of illegal substances and charged you, then that's the whole point of their warrant to seek out and stop illegal substances activity. If you are charged, you'll likely need a criminal lawyer to assist with your defence. So right now you could engage a criminal lawyer from a private law firm or if you can't afford one, try Legal Aid SA or a community legal centre.

Hope that helps.