Le Journal de Montreal reporter faces no charges after police raid on his home
Eric Yvan Lemay is a Le Journal de Montreal journalist who exposed some Quebec hospitals for lax security surrounding confidential patient information in February. In March, his home was raided by police, who seized his laptop and clothes. Now, QMI Agency has reported that he faces no criminal charges.
As J-Source reported last month, Lemay filed a report, published Feb. 9 that showed Montreal-area hospitals had left patient files unattended in their corridors. He took some of the files to a hospital bathroom and videotaped himself leafing through them to prove that he had easy access. According to Postmedia News, the video was posted on Le Journal de Montreal's website and several excerpts, with patients' names protected, were published in the newspaper.
After Lemay’s story was published, one hospital filed a criminal complaint that led a judge to issue a search warrant to Quebec police that allowed them to undertake the raid on Lemay’s home under suspicion of theft under $5,000.
The files were never removed from the hospital, said Le Journal’s editor Dany Doucet.
QMI Agency, Sun Media’s national newswire, reported yesterday that Lemay faces no charges over the incident.
"To charge a person with theft, one must prove fraudulent intent," a Crown spokesperson told QMI Agency. "The (Crown) was not able to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that a crime had been committed."
The police raid on Lemay’s home drew criticism from media watchdogs from around the world. The Canadian Association of Journalists issued a statement, in which president Hugo Rodrigues said, "It's mind-boggling the province has chosen to investigate the messenger rather than show itself taking action on protecting patient confidentiality."
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression also condemned the raid, saying in a letter to Quebec Minister of Public Security Robert Dutil that "CJFE believes this raid to be an attempt to intimidate Lemay and other journalists. This demonstrates a lack of protection and support for press freedom in Canada, and could have a chilling effect on the ability of journalists to provide fair and accurate reporting."
It even garnered the attention of international watchdog, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, who denounced the raids.
Lemay told QMI Agency that "I think it was a big misunderstanding from the start," but that he did not understand why police did not simply meet with him to discuss his story.