Informer privilege did not apply to Canadian Security Intelligence Service human sources

Federal appeal | Crown

PRIVILEGE

Informer privilege did not apply to Canadian Security Intelligence Service human sources

This was appeal from Federal Court Judge’s decision ordering disclosure of documents that were allegedly sensitive and potentially injurious. Appeal allowed. Three-prong test to be applied was set out in R. v. Ribic (2003), 185 C.C.C. (3d) 129 (F.C.A.). Judge must first determine whether information sought to be disclosed was relevant to proceedings in which it was intended to be used. If information met relevancy test judge must determine whether disclosure of information would be injurious to international relations, national defence or national security. If judge was satisfied that disclosure of sensitive information would result in injury judge must determine whether public interest in disclosure outweighed public interest in non-disclosure. Informer privilege did not apply to Canadian Security Intelligence Service human sources, as that would be contrary to s. 38 of Canada Evidence Act and express will of Parliament. However, in applying Ribic test judge either discounted evidence of injury or did not give it weight it deserved. Judge committed palpable and overriding error and disclosure order was set aside.

Canada (Attorney General) v. Kalifah
(June 13, 2011, F.C.A., Blais C.J., Letourneau and Trudel JJ.A., File No. A-428-10) 203 A.C.W.S. (3d) 771 (32 pp.).

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