The findings of the Bureau of Independent Investigations (EIB) regarding leakage of information to the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC) are major. At the point where the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions advises the Supreme Court to settle the dispute over journalistic sources while the parties are still in the dark.
L has Supreme Court is to hear on May 16 the appeal filed by journalist CBC investigation Marie-Maude Denis, who wants to break the judgment of the Superior Court of Quebec forcing him to testify about her sources journalists in the fraud case of Marc-Yvan Cote, Nathalie Normandeau and their four co-defendants.
The lawyers of the former Liberal organizer are seeking a stay of proceedings for their client because of leakage of information to the UPAC, leaks organized in high places according to them, which demonstrate conduct unbecoming the state.
The criminal trial has been suspended for a year because of the debate on the protection of journalistic sources, but also because of an investigation by the Bureau of Independent Investigations into leakage of information to UPAC.
The Crown prosecutor M e Robert Rouleau directly refers to this investigation EIB, called Oath in its brief filed in the Supreme Court a few days ago.
“Fruits” of an investigation
In the opinion of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), the inquiry “produces fruits that are directly relevant” to Marc-Yvan Cote’s motion for a stay of proceedings.
These “fruits” are likely to spoil procedural fairness, believes the DPCP, and to disadvantage, in the Supreme Court, the journalist Marie-Maude Denis and the respondent Marc-Yvan Côté, who do not know the nature of the information collected by the EIB since the investigation is still ongoing.
“It seems to us highly hazardous, in the very exceptional circumstances where we find ourselves at the time of this writing, to recommend to this Honorable Court to settle the merits of the case without the appellant and the respondent being current developments likely to influence this Court on the fate of the issue, “writes DPCP.
The DPCP suggests that the Supreme Court return the file to Andre Perreault, Quebec Court Judge, who began hearing the motion for a stay of proceedings.
The provincial prosecutor undertakes “to proceed as soon as possible to the communication of a significant part of the fruits of the investigation to the two parties concerned”.
Thus, the trial court will be able to make an informed assessment of whether the journalist’s source testimony is essential or whether information about the author of UPAC leaks could be obtained differently.
THE SUPREME COURT WANTS TO HEAR EIGHT STAKEHOLDERS
In addition to Marc-Yvan Cote, Marie-Maude Denis and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), the Supreme Court will also hear at the hearing on May 16 the arguments of the Attorney General of Quebec, the Professional Federation of Journalists Quebec, La Presse newspaper, a coalition of Canadian media and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
LIMITING POLICE-JOURNALIST RELATIONS
The appeal of journalist Marie-Maude Denis to the Supreme Court is the perfect opportunity, say lawyers Marc-Yvan Cote, to question the dissemination by the media of elements of investigations in progress.
In the brief filed in the registry of the Supreme Court on April 16 M e Olivier Desjardins and M e Jacques Larochelle dénombrent fifteen leaks of information from the Unite permanente anticorruption (UPAC), which resulted in many reports in the media about Liberal Party funding.
The testimony of Marie-Maude Denis, who has produced three investigative reports on the subject in six years, remains relevant, hammering the lawyers of Marc-Yvan Cote, to demonstrate the “systemic character” of pouring at the UPAC.
In their brief, the lawyers want to convince the Supreme Court “that there are strong reasons to prohibit the dissemination of information from ongoing investigations and to limit certain types of relations between journalists and police officers.”
In the case of Marc-Yvan Cote, Nathalie Normandeau and their co-accused, numerous pieces of evidence were released: video interviews of the suspects, sworn witness statements and search documents.
Gestures “very serious”
The police officers who served as sources for journalists made very serious gestures by betraying their duty of discretion, believe Mr. Cote’s lawyers. “Their actions constitute neither more nor less than an abuse of the powers of the State, a diversion of the judicial authorizations, an indifference to the constitutional rights of the accused and a contempt of the judicial system, insist the lawyers. Illegal dissemination of evidence is a deplorable practice that can never be tolerated in a free and democratic society. ”