Summary

40371

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, et al. v. His Majesty the King, et al.

(Quebec) (Criminal) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case) (Sealing order) (Certain information not available to the public)

Keywords

Criminal law — Charter of Rights — Procedure — Informer privilege — Order that proceedings be held in camera and sealing order — Whether trial judge can proceed outside justice system, completely and totally in camera, without putting together record or revealing very existence of court proceedings, contrary to open court principle protected by s. 2(b) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Whether, even though police informer privilege is absolute, its unrestrained interpretation may displace constitutional principle of open court proceedings, as Court of Appeal suggested — In addition to identity and list of information that would automatically identify informer, for which there is absolute protection, what test and framework should apply to permit adversarial proceeding in order to decide what other information might identify police informer — When determining facts that may be published while still protecting police informer’s identity, whether judge who hears application should order that interested third parties be notified and have opportunity to be heard on these matters — Whether Court of Appeal erred in refusing to partially unseal its record on ground that this exercise seemed unworkable.

Summary

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(PUBLICATION BAN IN CASE) (SEALING ORDER) (CERTAIN INFORMATION NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC)

On March 23, 2022, the Quebec Court of Appeal issued a redacted version of its reasons, which it had originally delivered on February 28, 2022, allowing the respondent Named Person’s conviction appeal and staying the criminal proceedings brought against Named Person, a police informer. The trial judgment under appeal had not been made public, and all the details of the proceedings, which were held in camera, were unknown to the public. The Court of Appeal ordered that the original version of its judgment and all information in its record be sealed.

After the Court of Appeal issued the redacted judgment, the media appellants filed a motion to have the confidentiality orders concerning the appeal record and the trial record lifted in whole or in part. The appellant the Attorney General of Quebec filed a motion to vary the sealing order applicable to the appeal record. The Court of Appeal dismissed the motions.

Lower Court Rulings

July 20, 2022
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

2022 QCCA 984 (French only)
Motions filed by MediaQMI and Groupe TVA, by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, La Presse, CN21, Montreal Gazette and Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., by Attorney General of Quebec and by Lucie Rondeau, in her capacity as Chief Judge of Court of Québec, to have orders for sealing and redaction of appeal record lifted in whole or in part or to obtain access to appeal record dismissed