Search warrant sealed
Also: buy a razor!
Your correspondent was surprised to learn today the warrant used to search the family home of a 19-year-old in connection with the alleged breach of Nova Scotia’s access to information website has been — literally — sealed.
According to Halifax police, the search
was executed April 11 at a Connaught Ave. home where the 19-year-old lives with his parents. The son was arrested for “unauthorized use of a computer” but has not been charged.
Search warrants become public documents once they have been executed and a report has been made to the issuing judge. It’s part of the public scrutiny that the courts actually welcome.
But police can apply to have a warrant, and the associated documents, sealed, sometimes forever. The term is literal: all the relevant documents are placed in a “packet” which is then, yep, sealed.
A police spokesperson said it was done in this case to “protect the integrity of the investigation”.
For detail-lovers, here’s an excerpt from the Criminal Code’s Section 487.3, which Turpin Labs’ legal division believes is relevant to the case:
A judge can seal a warrant …
(a) if disclosure of the information would:
(i) compromise the identity of a confidential informant,
(ii) compromise the nature and extent of an ongoing investigation,
(iii) endanger a person engaged in particular intelligence-gathering techniques and thereby prejudice future investigations in which similar techniques would be used, or
(iv) prejudice the interests of an innocent person; and
(b) for any other sufficient reason.
NOTE 1: Section 487.3 is silent on the issue of provincial governments creating a circus by incorrectly saying they had withheld news of the “breach” at the suggestion of the police.
NOTE 2: To the clerks at Hfx provincial court — why didn’t you simply tell me the documents had been sealed instead of putting me through hoops?
NOTE 3: Visual advice for fugitives hoping to evade detection by Halifax Regional Police — dudes, buy a razor! Scroll down to the photos to see why.