#NovaScotia; #Apr18ShootingRampage; #ProvincialJudge; #RCMP; #UnsealSearchWarrants
Nova Scotia, Jul 20 (Canadian-Media): As part of CBC's application, in a closed hearing July 20, a Nova Scotia (NS) judge, Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie, and Crown prosecutors representing the RCMP are expected to question investigators involved in the NS shootings to unseal search warrants in the case, media reports said.
Nova Scotia Provincial Court. Image credit: Courts.ns.ca
A 51-year-old denturist, Gabriel Wortman's killing rampage lasting 13 hours and a span of more than 150 kilometres on April 18 and 19 in rural NS resulted in the deaths of twenty-two people, torching of homes, and shooting pets.
After a lengthy search, police were able to shoot and kill the man in Enfield, N.S.
Following an application launched by CBC, NS RCMP were able to obtain 23 judicial authorizations in the case and, Halfpenny MacQuarrie agreed to release parts of seven of them in May.
Much of the information included in the blacked out, was given by the shooter's common-law to police containing details in witness statements and the calibre of the firearms used in the attacks.
MacQuarrie is scheduled to consider whether the redacted sections of five search warrants and two production orders should be released to the public.
"The issue for this Court becomes how do I adhere to the principle of an open Court while balancing the need to protect confidential and/or privileged information," said Halfpenny MacQuarrie in a June 16 ruling.
These documents described what People had told investigators that the gunman had a history of abuse, was paranoid, and had recently stockpiled gasoline. One person described him as a psychopath.
During filing of the submissions with the court last month, provincial Crown attorneys Mark Heerema and Shauna MacDonald said that material sealed to protect the investigation, including the models of guns the killer used, should remain sealed for six months.
The Crowns also said that the details protecting the interests of innocent persons should remain sealed permanently.
Although Canadian courts have different procedure for handling unsealed applications, Halfpenny MacQuarrie said the proceedings for this case on July 20 and July 21, will be closed to the public and media as the judge will evaluate if the Crown can prove that redactions could protect privileged information, and that the release of information could harm investigations.
Federal prosecutors are representing the Canada Border Services Agency, as police believe three of the firearms the gunman used came into Canada illegally from the U.S.
However, in the absence of an affidavit filed by the agency, the agency says it will not oppose the release of redacted information in the first seven warrant documents.