The Conservative MP for Mégantic-L’Érable, Luc Berthold, denounced in the House on Thursday the holding in Quebec of a secret criminal trial “worthy of North Korea”, which the federal Minister of Justice still refuses to talk about despite a very severe judgment of the Court of Appeal.
“We know that transparency is not a trademark of this NDP-Liberal government. There has been a justice worthy of the Middle Ages recently in Canada. A phantom trial, of which we know neither the place, nor the date, nor the judge, nor the accused, nor the lawyers and of which we have no transcript, ”lamented Mr. Berthold during the question period. .
” It appears that RCMP investigators and federal prosecutors participated in this mock justice worthy of North Korea. What role did the Liberal Minister of Justice play in this trial, which goes against all the basic principles of our judicial system in Canada? he asked Justice Minister David Lemetti.
The Conservative MP was reacting to recent revelations by The Press about how the Quebec Court of Appeal uncovered a secret criminal trial of which all traces had been erased. According to our information, the prosecution in this case was led by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the federal crown.
The accused, a police informant, was allegedly convicted of a crime without a case number being entered in the list of cases handled by the court. The judgment convicting him did not bear a file number and witnesses would have been questioned outside the court, without the proceedings being normally archived at the registry of a courthouse.
“In short, no trace of this trial exists, except in the memory of those involved,” concluded the three judges of the highest Quebec court responsible for reviewing this case.
The Court of Appeal determined that this exercise was “contrary to the fundamental principles of justice” and “incompatible with the values of a liberal democracy”, but it did not release the name of the judge who participated in it nor the district where it sits.
The concerned minister
Minister David Lametti had little to say in the House after the question from the member for Mégantic-L’Érable.
“The open court principle is a fundamental principle in our justice system,” he said.
“I am very concerned about media reports on the legal process in Quebec. I understand that the Director of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada has issued a press release,” he added, specifying that he could not comment further “due to the court orders in place in this case”.
In a press release issued last week, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada indeed contradicted the conclusions of the Court of Appeal, which referred in its judgment to a “secret trial”, a “secret hearing” and a “judgment held secrecy”.
“The PPSC does not prosecute in secret, nor does it conduct secret trials, even in cases involving an informant,” said the body, which claims it cannot say more because of the redaction imposed on the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, for his part, said last week that he had spoken with the management of the various courts of justice so that this kind of extraordinary procedure does not happen again. He also asked his prosecutors to take steps so that certain information that had been hidden in this case so far could be made public.