Pub Bans and Sealing Orders

2016 Quebec Superior Court Ghalmi Judgment

The media were seeking to obtain a copy of the sworn statement presented ex parte by a RCMP officer to a Quebec Court judge tasked with issuing a summons under section 810 of the CCC. The sworn statement had not been filed in the Court record.

The initial motion was met with incredulity and hostility from the PPSC. Amidst allegations that the media understood nothing of criminal law, the Quebec Court judge dismissed the motion without hearing it or the RCMP officer who had been subpoenaed.

The Superior Court quashed the Quebec Court judgment by way of certiorari, finding that the sworn statements were part of the record (even if they were never filed) and ordered the RCMP to file the sworn statement so that it could become public.

The lengthy judgment is replete with comments on freedom of expression with regards to the “war on terror”, and an exemplary application of the Dagenais\Mentuck principles in a context where judges are often wary to allow access to sensitive material.

It is believed that this is the first time that a Court has allowed access to documents “filed” during the ex parte pre-inquiry that sometimes take place before a summons is issued.