Lawyers, including those affiliated with several media outlets, struggled Monday morning to persuade the appeals court to lift the veil – in part – on the so-called “secret trial” in Quebec.
And they’re not alone in their quest: The chief justice of the Quebec court, Lucy Rondo, and the Quebec attorney general are calling for more information to be made public.
The existence of this mock trial was revealed in March, pursuant to a ruling by the Court of Appeal, stated in Journalism. The Court of Appeal had issued a stay of proceedings in a case involving a police informant who, for an unknown reason, found himself accused of a crime.
The court was shocked that this trial was conducted in the utmost secrecy, without a court number and without bearing the name of the judge or lawyers who represented the case. We don’t even know the jurisdiction in which the case took place. Without this ruling by Quebec’s highest court, we wouldn’t even know that he had actually taken him into custody.
The media does not request the disclosure of the name of the informant, nor the details that allow him to be identified. But they demand more transparency because justice must be done publicly.
In the days that followed the verses JournalismJustice Minister Simon Jolin Barrett has applied to the court for more transparency.
The Bar Association, as well as the Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court, Richard Wagner, were outraged.
On Monday, several lawyers brought their case to the Appeals Court to make more information public.
Because keeping everything secret is unlikely to enhance public confidence in the justice system, Ms.e Christian Leblanc, noting that he had never seen such a situation during his career.
“The secret trial is an aberration,” he said, using the word the appeals court used in its March ruling. He also spoke of “exaggeration”, because even the judicial department is kept secret.
He demanded the court to reconsider its decision, as disclosing the name of the judge and the lawyers involved would not reveal the name of the police informant.
Quebec’s attorney general has urged the appeals court to disclose enough details to the lower court in order to “create a record”. He said people were shocked.
The rest of the hearing in the Court of Appeal was held behind closed doors on Monday noon, that is, without the presence of journalists. Then the court considered the case and will issue its decision at a later time.