Secret investigation of police informant remains secret, appeals court

Secret investigation of police informant remains secret, appeals court

The trial of a top-secret police informant will remain secret to protect the accused, despite requests from several media outlets, the chief justice of a Quebec court and the attorney general have ruled in an appeals court.

• Read more: Secret Inquiry: Court of Appeal called into action

“Surprisingly, there is no information [que la cour] Due to the specific circumstances of the case, a redacted public version of its judgment cannot be published. […] That would violate the informant’s privilege,” summarizes today’s judgment.

Last March, La Presse revealed that the investigation into a police informant had been held “completely and completely in closed session.”

The identity of the accused, the nature and date of his crimes, but also the name of the lawyers and judge on file, the police force involved and the judicial district where the trial took place were kept confidential.

The file does not even bear count and “there is no trace of this inquiry except in the memory of the persons concerned,” a way of proceeding “contrary to the overarching and fundamental principles governing our judicial system,” the court noted. ‘s call.

However, the informant would have been convicted: his decision to appeal the abuse on the part of the state allowed him to proceed with the investigation of the crime he participated in and convict himself, the latter granted them. Along with information about other crimes.

” [Les policiers] Then their kept [personne] “The informant faces the following choice: waive his privilege as an informant and testify against the other participants or X or not waive and be charged with the crime committed in this case,” the court document summarizes.

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The Court of Appeal itself later stayed the proceedings and decided to make the secret file partially public by issuing its heavily redacted decision to protect the informant’s identity.

A number of media outlets, including Médias QMI, Le Presse inc., Société Radio-Canada, Montreal Gazette and La Presse Canadienne, went to court seeking a partial or total lifting of the gag order. file.

Despite arguments about publicity of the legal proceedings, the Court of Appeal set aside all claims and reiterated the confidential nature of the information. Thus, the identity of the judge, lawyers and police involved in the case will remain a mystery.

In principle, this information is however public and the court notes that it is “not without its knowledge”.

“Although the secrecy surrounding this information is extraordinary, it cannot be disclosed without violating the privilege enjoyed by the court here. [l’informateur]Because, together or separately, they “have the opportunity to serve to identify it”, we can read.

He concludes by noting that the protection of privilege is “essential” in this “extraordinary” case and is “a deterrent to the disclosure of this information.”

“It is certain that an absolute silence on the subject would, perhaps, have better preserved the identity. [l’informateur]Today though [lui] At the center of a controversy[il] Definitely didn’t [voulu] And it is feared that it will affect his safety”, the decision states.

“In writing all of this, the court in no way suggests that anyone in this case acted in bad faith, negligence and disregard of the principle of an open court. […] If these things are kept under wraps, it is because I have to protect the informer’s privilege,” he adds.

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