The folly of the secret | The Press

On the list of cases to be investigated, those involving police mischief are very high.

Posted at 6:00 am

This is exactly the kind of case that has become the famous “shadow trial”, the Court of Appeal announced this week.

In this case, the police recruited an informant, who provided him with information on the criminal world. A very classic operation: in exchange for money, the informant tells the police what is happening to the mafia, to the bikers, in other words, to his criminal environment.

Obviously, this double play is very dangerous and, if the mask is opened, the police informer is a dead man. In exchange for his good services, he not only receives money, but also a kind of safety in charges and protection in case of mistakes.

In the case now known as the “Designated Person”, the informant believes he obtained a police discharge for his past crimes. All the while knowing that, if we pinch him for a new crime, there is no more agreement and that he will be accused.

But this verbal agreement is rather haywire, thankfully, not understood as such by the police.

When “Designated Person” confessed to a previous crime, police told him: oops, sorry my old man, no agreement, we need to accuse you.

Problem: this is still an indicator … How can a person with the right to remain anonymous be brought to justice?

Panic in the lawyers, panic in the judge’s office …

The solution?

A secret test!

Thus this trial, which took place without anyone knowing where, when, before whom, or with the lawyers, was born bad. A trial that never even took place in a courthouse: the interrogations were not in court, and the judge judged by reading the transcripts …

A trial that the Court of Appeal has already cut on the merits: the police have not been fair to the indicator, which should not be accused. This is the deal what they did to the devil. The informant was removed in all cases due to the chaotic police process.

You can hardly find a reason beyond the public interest: how does the police fight organized crime? Is he capable? What kind of arrangements were made with criminals to arrest larger criminals? How do judges decide these cases? Where did they draw the line between what is reasonable and what is flawed in police strategies?

In Russia (let me take a random example), don’t try to extract this information by covering a lawsuit.

This is the essence of the rule of law to have public access (for anyone in the public) to proceedings to know how justice is done.

This is the foundation of “public trust” on which justice must depend, and on which the mantra of the courts is.

Contemporary conspiracy, like previous generations, certainly eats away at state secrets, true or false, and all that happens behind closed doors.

How, then, has it gone so far from the folly of secrecy, to the point of having a paper trial in which the judge cannot even see the faces of the witnesses?

There is no such extreme precedent, but there is still a related case in British Columbia, which was fixed in 2007. An immigration case in which the judge ordered a closed session because the “designated person was a police informer. But at least in the judge sought the opinion of an independent lawyer and media lawyer, to get a somewhat contrary opinion.And he made a real trial.

In this type of case, you need to understand this: the defense, defending a compromised defendant, wants as much anonymity as possible; and the prosecution, unwilling to reveal police secrets, also wanted the same thing. Everyone wants to be behind closed doors! The judge remains, who must preserve the integrity of the trial … and its constitutionality.

In the case before us, the judge does not require any outside opinion. Nothing. And he invented this far -reaching method.

Talking to several judges, former judges and lawyers over the past two days, this case is completely unprecedented in Canada.

Did the judge decide on this strange procedure on his own? Did he consult the Chief Justice? On the one hand, the decision was overwhelming: it’s hard to imagine it being taken solo. But on the other hand, when a judge doesn’t even dare to publish his name, perhaps he prefers not to tell anyone?

How is the prosecutor? Did he consult his superiors? Did it go to director Patrick Michel, who was appointed last year, or to his predecessor, Annick Murphy?

But perhaps this is a federal prosecution case, involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?

The indicators have an absolute right to anonymity: there is no debate about that. They are an important tool in the fight against crime and risk their lives.

But what should be protected is their identity, or the information that allows it to be known. Not everyone, everyone, everyone, even the judge’s name. A judge must “take all possible steps to ensure the public has the most complete access to proceedings and to restrict the communication and publication of information only if this information is likely to reveal the identity of the informant”, as said by the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal, which tells us about the existence of this phantom trial, and is very critical of the judge … does not give us new information, and does not even ask for an outside opinion. He denounced as “exaggerated” the judge’s extreme measures, saying it violates all principles of transparency … but does nothing to let us know a little bit.

Is that how we intend to protect “public trust”?

What else to do?

Return to the Court of Appeal, to ask for the minimum information. Because there is no way to investigate a sealed case otherwise.

This should be the job of the Attorney General, but there is no indication that it will happen.

The questioning of those responsible, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (?), The Court (which one?), The Bar will remain, for them to explain themselves.

I know, I’m dreaming.

Because apart from the anonymity of the indicator, which is obviously respected by all, no explanation was given, not even by the Court of Appeal. So in this pretense, oh so morally indisputable, we will throw away all the good principles of transparency. Everyone repents, everyone weeps. But these people are all complicit in this secret that they say is despicable.

What about this statement by the DPCP, which “cannot confirm or deny” that he participated in a trial in Quebec? It must be done! We do not ask for the name or PIN of the informant. Just … are you there?

If Guantánamo prisoners could be convicted more or less in public, if informers convicted of terrorists, gang leaders, such as Maurice Boucher or others, were able to protect while testifying in public. .we should at least know… the name of the judge and the crime alleged against the “Designated Person” … Maybe two, three dates?

Because it also remains to be seen: did it happen later?

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