Quebec Court Chief Judge Seeks Access to Sealed Documents in Secret Trial Case

Quebec Court Chief Judge Seeks Access to Sealed Documents in Secret Trial Case
The Quebec Superior Court is seen in Montreal on March 27, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)
The Canadian Press

The chief judge of Quebec court has filed a motion with the Court of Appeal to get information under seal regarding a so-called secret trial held in the province about which even she has been kept in the dark.

In a court application filed today, a lawyer representing Judge Lucie Rondeau said the judge has been unable to learn whether the case was heard at the provincial court level.

The motion asks the court to provide Rondeau with a sealed copy of the court file or, if applicable, the pertinent elements that would allow her to reconstruct the legal proceedings.

The trial’s existence only became public because the police informant accused in the case appealed his or her conviction, and the appeals court issued a heavily redacted ruling at the end of February critical of the lower court proceedings.

The initial case had no official docket number. The nature of the alleged crime and the jurisdiction where it occurred were kept secret, as was the police force involved. The names of the lawyers and judge who participated in the case were also not disclosed.

Rondeau’s filing states she will take all necessary steps to protect the identity of the police informant and respect other conditions regarding the release of the case’s details.

The informant was convicted of participating in a crime that he or she had initially revealed to police. The informant claimed he or she was a victim of an abuse of process, but the lower court judge disagreed.

The Appeal Court panel, however, sided with the informant and stayed the conviction and the legal proceedings, noting in its ruling the initial trial was “contrary to the fundamental principles that govern our justice system.'’