Harkat defence denied document disclosure
By Andrew Duffy, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA – A Federal Court judge has denied lawyers for Mohamed Harkat the right to read eight complete intelligence files from the archives of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Special advocates for Harkat, 40, an Ottawa man accused of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent, have already seen more than 2,000 documents containing at least 8,000 pages of information related to the Algerian-born Harkat.
But the special advocates – lawyers appointed to represent Harkat in secret hearings – had argued that they should be allowed to see intelligence files related to those people and organizations linked to him.
They asked the court for the right to view eight such files.
But Judge Simon Noel rejected the request in a decision released Thursday, saying it would require the disclosure of thousands of documents, each of which would have to be carefully vetted.
“Such an order,” he said, “would be akin to a fishing expedition and would unacceptably delay this proceeding.”
Given the current level of disclosure made by the federal government, Noel said, Harkat’s defence team should be able to protect his legal interests.
It is the second significant legal defeat for the public advocates who represent Harkat.
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