Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Remaining Rob Ford-Lisi info in police document to be released
The Toronto Sun and other media launched a court battle last month to try to expose all of the censored portions of a police document known as an information to obtain (ITO) that outlines an investigation into Ford, a video of him appearing to smoke crack cocaine and Lisi.
On Wednesday, Justice Ian Nordheimer released his decision permitting the remaining sections, including wiretap information, to be made public.
But that information won’t be released until at least Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m., Nordheimer ruled, to give the provincial Crown attorney time to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. As an intervenor, instead of a party, the provincial Crown has to appeal to the Supreme Court instead of the Ontario Court of Appeal.
The investigation by Toronto Police into Ford as Toronto mayor has enormous public interest, Nordheimer noted.
“We are dealing with the actions of the duly elected mayor of the country’s largest city and the extensive investigation undertaken by the police into those actions,” Nordheimer wrote in his decision released. “In terms of legal proceedings, it is hard to conceive of a matter that would be of more importance to the public interest, at this particular point in time, than the one that is presented by this case in the context in which it has unfolded.”
“A result that would preclude public scrutiny for two or more years of the information related to the actions of the mayor, and to those of the police” tips the scales in favour of public interest over secrecy, Nordheimer wrote in his judgment.
Nordheimer said Lisi’s fair trial rights wouldn’t be compromised by the release of these documents. He alluded to the fact that despite considerable publicity, juries could be selected for the trials of schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo and those accused in the Boxing Day murder of Jane Creba.
Lisi could be facing a jury trial on his extortion charge, alleging he threatened two men believed to have possessed and tried to sell the Ford crack video to media outlets in May.
He’s also facing marijuana trafficking charges as well but these matters will be heard in a judge-alone trial.
“A publication ban on the contents of the ITO cannot be justified. The applicants (media) are therefore entitled to have access to and publish the contents of the ITO edited solely for categories of confidential informant privilege and (police) investigative techniques,” Nordheimer said.
The provincial Crown argued to keep the information police learned in wiretaps censored, but media lawyer Iain MacKinnon stressed the information was in the public interest as it related to Ford and should be released immediately.
Nordheimer declined to give the Crown 30 days to consider an appeal, calling the delay “excessive” and granted them until next Friday for appeal purposes.
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