Quebec Standard

Monday, February 26, 2024

Legal experts say Quebec ‘secret trial’ breaks basic principles of justice

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • The case, known as ‘Dossier X,’ only came to glow when the defendant pleaded the guilty judgment.
  • The case, known simply as “Dossier X,” was worked covertly with the Crown prosecutors’ support and the presiding judge and counsel for the defense. 

Members of Quebec’s legal community say a trial in total secrecy, with no paper trail, has broken the basic principles of justice on which the court system is based.

The trial, whose presence was first noted by the French-language online newspaper La Presse on Friday, is directed only as “Dossier X.” 

The case was conducted covertly with the support of the Crown prosecutors concerned, the presiding judge, and defense counsel.

Where and when the trial took place, along with the names of the defendant and the presiding judge, have been intentionally banned from the public record.

No eyewitnesses were called to the stand: they were questioned outside the courtroom, and a transcript of their testimony was presented in court.

The case had no case numeral and was never filed in the region’s judicial archives. On paper, it never occurred.

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Members of Quebec’s legal community say a trial in total secrecy, with no paper trail, has broken the basic principles of justice

The trial just came to light because the defendant decided to plead the ruling, fading the case to Quebec’s Court of Appeal, which caused its decision public.

‘Unthinkable’ to disregard established rules

Elfriede-Andrée Duclervil, a lawful aid lawyer in Montreal who has worked on some high-profile cases, said it was “impossible” that any lawyer would decide to participate in a trial this way.

“Our justice system is based on measures of openness and transparency in court proceedings, and that case went entirely against that. 

Totally against that,” she stated. 

Longtime criminal attorney Jeffrey Boro said he was “surprised” that the court rules, “set over centuries, can be broken in minutes.”

“Things like this should never, ever happen,” Boro said.

Source – cbc.ca

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