Canada’s spy agency says part of a court proceeding that considers whether a husband and wife who left pressure-cooker devices outside the British Columbia Legislature were entrapped by the RCMP should remain secret.
A lawyer for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said Thursday it is opposing a media request for information about a closed-door hearing that was held in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week.
Helen Park, the lawyer, said releasing information on a possible CSIS source could put that person in danger and hurt the agency’s ability to recruit sources in the future.
“It’s important for CSIS to acknowledge the importance … of the open court principle,” Ms. Park said. “However, we also submit that the public interest and the proper administration of justice are also served by preventing prejudice to the privacy interests of innocent individuals.”
The entrapment argument is being made in the case of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody. The couple were found guilty by a jury in June of conspiring to murder persons unknown and making or possessing an explosive substance – in both cases for the benefit or at the direction of a terrorist group.
The judge in the case said she would wait to enter the guilty verdicts until after the entrapment argument was heard.
Lawyers for the couple have described them as poverty-stricken addicts who were manipulated by undercover police. The Crown has said Mr. Nuttall and Ms. Korody were more than capable of making their own decisions and chose to try to murder innocent people on Canada Day of 2013 outside the legislature.
Daniel Burnett, a lawyer representing six media outlets, including The Globe and Mail, told the court the hearing held Monday should not have been in camera.
“An in-camera order is the most extreme secrecy tool a court has, only to be exercised in the most compelling cases, only in the most narrow of proceedings and only for the shortest time possible,” he said.
Mr. Burnett said media outlets were not told ahead of time that the hearing, which involved CSIS documents, would be held behind closed doors.
Marilyn Sandford, Mr. Nuttall’s lawyer, said she did not have any comment on Mr. Burnett’s application.
Sharon Steele, the lawyer for the Crown, told the court it opposes information from Monday’s hearing being released. She referred to the individual involved as “Mr. X.”
“Disclosure of this information could potentially put someone’s life at risk,” she said, though she did not indicate how.
Mr. Burnett said the media do not wish to put anyone in danger.
“If the judgment is that some editing is required with the purpose of protecting the safety of an individual, then so be it,” he said.
Justice Catherine Bruce said she would review the transcript from the hearing and then determine how to proceed. She said her decision would likely be made by Monday.
Ms. Park said if the court releases a transcript, CSIS would seek an opportunity to edit it, a point that appeared to catch the judge by surprise.
“I would be in the best position to edit the transcript because I’m the judge,” Justice Bruce said.Report Typo/Error