Toronto and national news media have scored a small win in the battle to unseal search warrants that they say may contain links to Toronto mayor Rob Ford and the alleged video of him smoking crack cocaine.

Toronto and national news media have scored a small win in the battle to unseal search warrants that they say may contain links to Toronto mayor Rob Ford and the alleged video of him smoking crack cocaine.

Ontario court judge Philip Downes ruled Tuesday that the Crown must hand over the documents to media lawyers by Aug. 27 so they can form arguments for having the materials made public.

The Crown had argued it needed a six-month suspension of proceedings to inform the accused and to relay the documents to them first. The Crown had also argued it needed to censor some of the information in the documents and that the process could take six to nine months, according to the Star. 

But Downes disagreed with the timeline given by the Crown. In his decision, Downes said “in my view, the Crown’s position is unjustified and unreasonable,” and added “the Crown’s position is not compatible with the presumption that judicial proceedings are open and public.”

The Crown will be allowed to redact sensitive parts of the documents before the full hearing. Then, lawyers will return to court no later than Sept. 12, according to the Star, “to argue which sections should remain redacted before the document is made public.”  

The 205 pages of documents will be handed over in confidence to lawyers who represent news outlets including The Canadian Press, the Star, the Globe and Mail, CBC, CTV and Postmedia.

[node:ad]

The warrants in question relate to a Toronto Police raid of 12 addresses in late May that was part of a gang investigation in the northwest end called "Project Traveller." The Toronto Star reported that one of the houses targeted was the same one where Ford stood with three others — two who were arrested in the raid —  in a now-infamous photo. The newspaper added that another address  in the warrant was one that Ford "blurted out at a meeting with staff, sources told the Star, saying the video could be found there."

The media application states: “There are reports that the residential complex along Dixon Road at the heart of the raids includes a location where the alleged video depicting Mayor Ford may have been kept.” It continues, “This matter is of great public interest as it may relate to allegations that the mayor of Toronto has been associated with members of a criminal organization and was videotaped by them using crack cocaine.”

Downes said in his decision that he doesn’t “see why there should be any resistance to providing the material.”

 

AFFIDAVIT OF GAVIN HORNER (Courtesy of the Toronto Star)