Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Lawyers Oppose Release of Murder Conviction Assessment in Nova Scotia Case

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Lawyers Oppose Release of Murder Conviction Assessment in Nova Scotia Case

Article excerpt

Keep murder verdict review sealed: lawyers


HALIFAX - Lawyers for the federal Justice Department and a Nova Scotia man whose murder conviction may have been the result of a miscarriage of justice say a preliminary assessment of the case should not be made public because it is protected under privacy law and could create a "chilling effect" on an ongoing review.

The lawyers argued Tuesday against the release of the preliminary assessment of the second-degree murder conviction of Glen Eugene Assoun, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1999 for stabbing his former girlfriend. He has maintained his innocence.

The Justice Department has said the recently completed assessment shows there may have been a miscarriage of justice in the case and a more in-depth investigation has been launched.

Philip Campbell, Assoun's lawyer, said in Nova Scotia Supreme Court that the material is protected under federal privacy law and it could create a "chilling effect" on the review if it were released.

Campbell said he plans to use the assessment in a bail hearing for Assoun next month, but that is based on the understanding that its contents would be covered by a publication ban.

He said the information in the assessment is "highly confidential, highly personal and highly sensitive ... to the ongoing work of the investigation."

"It doesn't lend itself to selective publication."

Media lawyer Alan Parish, representing the CBC, argued in court that the application for a publication ban and sealing of the document goes too far.

Parish said it's possible an edited version of the preliminary assessment could be made public and he asked Judge James Chipman to go through the document and rule on what portions can be released.

Parish also said he didn't hear any evidence that the release of the information would violate privacy or could taint a future jury.

"There's no evidence here anybody here was promised confidentiality," he said. …

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