Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Closed-door hearing in Calgary - Stingray Surveillance

A judge had granted defence counsel permission to ask questions about Mobile Device Identifiers by police. That prompted prosecutors to invoke a section of the Canada Evidence Act which allows the Crown to object to the disclosure of certain information if it is not in the public interest. They then asked for an "in-camera" hearing where even defence counsel are excluded to argue disclosing information about the devices would divulge police investigative techniques.

Tarek El-Rafie
The case is related to Tarek El-Rafie and Barakat Amer, who are charged along with five other men in connection with a string of gang-related attempted murders.

They are largely tied to drug disputes – including the trafficking of fentanyl – in northeast Calgary. In 2015, the city saw 95 shootings, double the number in 2014. More than half of the 2015 shootings were related to organized crime and police say 15 cases were homicides.
Defence lawyers indicated they may seek a stay of criminal proceedings against their clients because police destroyed evidence gathered using the technology while the case was still being investigated. The reluctance to divulge the techniques used was behind a decision earlier this year to stay charges against 37 individuals tied to the Montreal Mafia. The rationale seems to be related to the goal of fighting terrorism, but one wonders what the real difference is between organized violence and terrorism.
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