Law Times

September 14, 2015

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Judge issues stern warning about protecting informants BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times n a stern message to police on their obligations to protect con- fidential informants, Superior Court Justice Mark Edwards has issued a stay of proceedings in a case dealing with an informant charged with serious drug offences follow- ing many years of working with au- thorities on a drug trafficking case in Ontario. The ruling dealt with an infor- mant, a parent known to police as a drug user, who worked reliably with them over many years and whose information helped result in a sei- zure of illicit drugs that was among the largest-ever drug busts in the community identified as Z. The rul- ing in R. v. A.B. doesn't identify the name and sex of the accused, the police departments involved, the specific drugs, locations, dates or times in order to protect the infor- mant's identity. On the substance of the charges, Edwards acquitted A.B. but he went on to rule on an appli- cation for a stay of proceedings due to a breach of the informant's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The informant had been work- ing with police for many years, pro- viding information to help find a source of illicit drugs that had been coming from outside Canada and into ABCPF's jurisdiction. In the weeks leading up to the informant's arrest, the RCMP seized a package entering Canada that contained il- licit drugs and was destined for the informant's residence. A police of- ficer from outside of the ABCPF, disguised as a postal worker, eventu- ally delivered a replacement placebo package to the informant. The judge had to determine if the informant was simply the recipient of a pack- age and unaware of the extent and nature of the illicit drugs inside or if the informant was actually to be the final recipient of the package and was fully aware of the contents. Edwards ruled the Crown had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the informant knew exactly what was in the package and entered an acquittal on all charges. According to Edwards' Sept. 4 ruling, police arrested the infor- mant, identified as A.B. in the course of the bust. The secretiveness of the informant's identity became com- promised through the exchange of information between police depart- ments, such as videotape interviews. Only two handlers and their su- pervisors in the police force, iden- tified in the ruling as ABCPF, were to know about her status as an infor- mant, Edwards noted. The informant's defence lawyer, Leora Shemesh, calls it a very diffi- cult case that "highlights the impor- tance of police officers and their on- going obligation to be trained and educated when interacting with in- formants. "It is extremely important to know the difference between us- ing informants to gain valuable in- formation and using these persons as agents for the state and exploiting vulnerable members of our society to further criminal investigations," says Shemesh. "It is a delicate bal- legal expertise? Looking for Find exactly what you need at It's fast, It's free, s fa , s f and it's available to you 24 hours a day. ay. s available y availabl y Starting a business, making a will or buying a house? Declaring bankruptcy, dealing with a personal injury, insurance claim or job loss? If you're in the midst of one of life's big events, help is as close as your smartphone, tablet or computer. Simply go to to find the right lawyer for your particular legal need. is Canada's most comprehensive online directory of lawyers and law firms. And it's easy to use! You can search by city, legal specialty, or name for listings and contact information. Find the legal expertise you need at Untitled-2 1 2015-09-10 7:42 AM Feds accused of 'nickel and diming' lawyers BlackBerrys not replaced, counsel told to carpool to court BY SHANNON KARI For Law Times udget cuts that include restrictions on access to paid legal databases and ordering transcripts and directives that include requirements to carpool to courthouses are the latest source of frustration for federal government lawyers, es- pecially in southern Ontario. The head of the association that represents lawyers at the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Ser- vice of Canada says the "nickel and diming" policies are sending a poor message to those who work for "the gov- ernment's law firm." Len MacKay, president of the Association of Justice Counsel, says "the product is going to suffer" if the fed- eral government doesn't invest more in its law firm. "We can only conclude the prime minister does not care," says MacKay of the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper. The cuts, which can make it difficult for federal lawyers to access even basic work materials, is somewhat "ironic" given the Conservatives' reputation as a law-and-order government, says MacKay. Federal lawyers made substantial wage gains in a 2012 contract after lengthy negotiations with the government. They are now the third-highest-paid government lawyers behind provincial Crowns in Ontario and Alberta. Budget cuts imposed by the government have focused primarily on work-related expenses, says MacKay, since most of the department's overall cost involves salaries. BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION Judge fails to stop improper litigation tactics P7 FOCUS ON Human Rights Law P8 'If they are not working, we go without BlackBerrys,' says Len MacKay. See Informant, page 2 See Lawyers, page 2 PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 28 September 14, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L AW TIMES B I TRIBUNAL CHANGES Lawyers worried about 10-year cap for adjudicators P4

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