The accused argued that it was inappropriate for CRA to obtain a search warrant under s. 487 of the Criminal Code in respect of suspected offences under the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act, as both Acts have their own provisions for obtaining search warrants that (the accused argued) place more stringent requirements on obtaining a search warrant (ITA s. 231.3(1) and ETA s. 290). He argued that the specific procedures set out in those provisions "should not be ignored" in favour of more general procedures dealing with the same matter, and that CRA's policy of obtaining warrants under the Criminal Code instead of the ITA and ETA is a pervasive abuse of process.
Barrow J found no merit in the accused's submissions. The overriding of a general provision by a specific one occurs where the two provisions cannot "stand together," whereas here the provisions merely authorized warrants "somewhat differently" (para. 49).
As for the abuse of process argument, CRA's choice to invoke the Criminal Code procedure was appropriate. Barrow J stated (at para. 54):
[I]n this case the revenue authorities would have had to obtain two warrants, had they attempted one under the Income Tax Act and one under the Excise Tax Act, as opposed to a single warrant granted under the Criminal Code. Second, there is no basis to conclude that because the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act warrants can only be issued by a superior court judge, that the level of review applied by the issuing judicial officer is any different, never mind more rigorous, than the review carried out by any other judicial officer.