Former RCMP Agent Accused of Espionage Pleads Not Guilty to Charges

Former RCMP Agent Accused of Espionage Pleads Not Guilty to Charges
Cameron Ortis, then a senior intelligence official at the RCMP, leaves the courthouse in Ottawa after being granted bail on Oct. 22, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)
The Canadian Press
Cameron Jay Ortis, a former RCMP intelligence director who is accused of leaking classified information to an unspecified foreign entity, pleaded not guilty to all charges on Oct.3.
Mr. Ortis, who was the former director general of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre, was arrested in September 2019 for allegedly preparing to share sensitive information with a foreign entity, and allegedly sharing operational information in 2015, both of which were contrary to the Security of Information Act (SOIA) and criminal code.
His trial is currently taking place at the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa, where Justice Robert Maranger is overseeing the proceedings. The jury has been selected for the trial, which will last several weeks.
The Crown said that RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme and former RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson could potentially be witnesses at the trial.
The 51-year-old was bound to secrecy while with the RCMP and had access to top-secret information from Canada's security agencies and its allies in the Five Eyes intelligence group—the United States, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. He faces six criminal charges, including four under SOIA Section 14.
According to CBC News, the charges allege that Mr. Ortis communicated special operational information to four individuals “intentionally and without authority." He also faces two additional criminal charges of fraudulently accessing a computer service and committing a breach of trust.
Defence lawyer Mark Ertel said Mr. Ortis is currently being "followed and spied on" and that the last four years had been "terrible" for him, according to the Globe and Mail. He added that while Mr. Ortis is charged as acting without authority, the defence will attempt to prove that he "did have authority to do everything he did.”
Mr. Ortis’s other lawyer, Jon Doody, said the former RCMP intelligence director will have a “compelling story to tell” during the trial, and predicted the jury would "be interested to hear what he has to say and will find him not guilty."
Mr. Ortis had been in custody since the revocation of his bail in November 2019 but was released on bail in December 2022. In September 2022, Mr. Ortis' trial was delayed for a year after a new defence lawyer took on his case. At the time, he had been represented by Ian Carter, who was appointed as an Ontario Superior Court judge effective January 2022.
The trial of Mr. Ortis is the first time a Canadian has appeared in court on charges brought under the Security of Information Act.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.