The Quebec Justice Minister said he was investigating a criminal trial in a state involving police informants that was completely secret and did not take place in official court.
Simon Jorin Barrett today learned more about what happened in a trial in which prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges agreed to keep the proceedings secret to protect the identity of the informant. I told reporters that I had something to say.
The existence of the trial was revealed when the police informant accused in the case appealed his or her conviction and the Court of Appeals criticized the lower court’s proceedings. Because I did.
In a decision dated February 28, 2022, a committee of three Courts of Appeals stated that the method by which the first trial took place “contrary to the basic principles governing our judicial system.”
The case had no official reference number, and the witnesses were cross-examined outside the court, adding that “there is no evidence of this trial other than the hearts of the individuals involved.”
As with the police associated with the suspect’s name, the time and place of the unnamed crime was kept secret.
The Quebec Public Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Court of Appeals panel has determined that legal proceedings should be open, subject to certain court orders, or partially closed-door, even if the identity of the informant needs to be protected.
The case involves a police informant convicted of participating in the crime he or she first revealed to the police. The informant claimed that he or she was a victim of process abuse, but the judge in the lower court disagreed.
However, the Court of Appeals panel stood on the side of the informant and maintained the conviction and legal proceedings.
“We cannot exaggerate the importance of the principles of public courts in this country,” the judges of the Court of Appeals, Marry France Bitch, Martin Vocrea, and Patrick Healy, wrote in the preface of their decision.
“If the court must protect the specific information disclosed there, a procedure as secret as the current procedure is completely contrary to modern criminal law, not only the accused, but also the media, and It is equally incompatible with the values of liberal democracy, “they added.