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R v L (1995)

  • Clayton Rice, Q.C.

The defendants in this case were charged with conspiracy and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The case went directly to trial in the Provincial Court of Alberta on the election of the defendants. Early in the trial the Crown Attorney objected to the disclosure of certain information on the grounds of a specified public interest under s 37 of the Canada Evidence Act. Mr Rice objected on the basis that the Crown Attorney was in the wrong court to assert the privilege. The proper court was the Federal Court under s 37(3)(a) of the¬†statute. The trial judge in the Provincial Court adjourned the trial. The next move by the Crown Attorney was to bring the certification of the specified public interest before the Court of Queen’s Bench. Mr Rice objected again and Chief Justice W K Moore said that he had reservations whether the Crown Attorney had brought the application in the right court. Faced with the prospect of conducting a long and delayed application on the crowded docket of the Federal Court, the Crown Attorney withdrew the charges.

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