Canada’s chief justice says secret trial ‘doesn’t help the cause of justice’

Canada’s chief judge, Richard Wagner, is in turn highly critical of the conduct of a secret criminal trial in Quebec. He sees this as a departure from the “fundamental principle” of announcing the proceedings – which “does not help the cause of justice”.

“Listen, it is unbelievable and very unfortunate,” he said frankly on the sidelines of an important interview with duty held in light 40And the Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In his view, the trial of a police informant, the existence of which was revealed by the Quebec Court of Appeal, and then by Journalism, “Nowhere”. When we talk about access to justice, we are talking about transparency. We have a basic principle in Canada and Quebec, which is the principle of public hearings. In English we say: “oThe principle of the pen court“.Why is that? It is to allow citizens to see justice in action. There is nothing hidden,” Mr. Wagner added, in the judges’ reading room located in the Supreme Court of Canada building in Ottawa.

Questions are still unanswered

The Quebec Court of Appeals lifted part of the veil in the trial, which was held in a “complete and complete closed session”, which “has no effect.” […] exists, except in the memory of the individuals involved”, through a ruling issued on March 23 corrected and revised. The highest court in Quebec did not reveal the identity of the judge, nor the region in which he presided over the case, nor the charges against the police informant, nor his sentence. The Chief Justice of Canada said Simply: “I don’t understand what happened,” before adding, “I trust your work to find out what happened, or [celui] others. But it certainly does not help the cause of justice. »

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“Errors” and “badly cut ticks”

Mr. Wagner is keen to commend the quality of Canadian judges. We have an excellent judiciary. “It doesn’t mean that there are sometimes no mistakes, it doesn’t mean that there are sometimes no badly cut marks,” the chief justice said. “But overall, we have an excellent and well-trained judiciary,” he continues. He noted that the National Judicial Institute, which is headed by Canadian judges, used its expertise in private to serve a judicial reform project in Ukraine before the Russian invasion.

Having said that, Mr. Wagner is concerned about the impact this whole issue could have on public confidence in the justice system and, more broadly, in democratic institutions. “I find it a shame, an incident like this [du procès secret], because it just takes to raise doubts in some minds,” he says. “And then it has no place. »

Better understanding of justice

Richard Wagner served successively as a judge of the Supreme Court of Quebec (2004-2011) and a judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec (2011-2012), before being appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada at the suggestion of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the fall of 2012. After More than four years since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Supreme Court chief justice, he says he’s been working to “empower [aux Canadiens] To better understand our judicial system,” by publishing a summary of the decisions of the country’s highest court, for example.

Wagner is proud of this “initiative” — and others, such as hearing cases outside the federal capital or holding an annual press conference — which he uses to “communicate directly with people, so that people know who they are dealing with, that they have a good justice system.” “They should [les Canadiens] They have confidence in the justice system. When people stop trusting their justice system, it will be the beginning of chaos. The more you have a reliable justice system with the population, the better your democracy,” he argues.

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Look for traces of the secret trial

Let’s see in the video

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