By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Durham Region Crime Stoppers believes all the tips it receives must remain anonymous – and it is going to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) to fight for it.
This case stems from a murder trial and whether or not a confidential tip received by Durham Region Crime Stoppers could be entered as evidence.
In a redacted application for leave to appeal posted on the Supreme Court of Canada’s website, a tip came in to Crime Stoppers in regards to a murder investigation. However, the Crown maintains that this tip can be entered as evidence as they believe it came from a source close to the crime at hand, with the judge ruling that it was not protected by informer privilege, which in Canadian law is meant to keep the identity of someone giving tips on a criminal investigation private.
It is because of this decision that, according to Bob Gill, the Vancouver-based attorney representing Durham Region Crime Stoppers, that the case is being brought to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Crime Stoppers is a civilian-run non-profit organization. It solicits members of the public to provide to Crime Stoppers information they may know on criminal activity, in response to an offer that the person providing the information will remain anonymous,” Gill tells The Oshawa Express in an emailed statement.
“Crime Stoppers relays such information to law enforcement for investigation, but only on the basis that the anonymity of the provider will be protected. That anonymity is supported in the justice system by informer privilege, which has been described as a rule both of law and of public order.”
The details of this case, including the identity of the accused and any details surrounding the murder investigation, are protected under a seal order ahead of the upcoming hearing.
Gill adds that Crime Stoppers is “prepared to go to any lengths necessary to invoke the privilege and stand behind that offer of anonymity.”
Earlier this month, Crown attorneys through the Attorney General of Ontario’s office filed a motion asking for the hearing on this matter to be expedited. A tentative hearing date has been set for Jan. 20, 2017.
The Attorney General of Ontario and legal counsel for the accused in the initial murder investigation both declined to comment for this story.