More sealed search warrants in Donnie Snook case
Issued after former Saint John councillor was expected to give police a statement
At least two more search warrants have been executed in connection with the investigation of former Saint John councillor Donnie Snook, CBC News has learned.
The warrants were both issued on Jan. 29, after Snook was expected to to give police a statement, according to court documents.
But details about where police searched, what they were looking for and what they seized have been sealed from the public by a provincial court judge.
Snook, 41, is facing eight child exploitation charges, including three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession of child pornography.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The two-term councillor, who resigned in January, and now-suspended director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry, is expected to enter pleas on March 11. He has been in jail since his arrest on Jan. 9.
"Donnie Snook, through his counsel, advised us he would provide a Caution audio and video recorded statement, which is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2013, at 11 a.m., disclosing a number of offences," police state in court documents.
Investigators obtained the two latest search warrants about a week later.
Judge Henrik Tonning agreed to seal both of the warrants to protect the identity of any alleged victims and to protect police investigative techniques.
But four other warrants that were previously sealed for the same reasons were made public on Tuesday, following a decision of Provincial Court Judge Alfred Brien.
Brunswick News had argued the sealing orders were too broad and Brien ruled they could be released once any "sensitive material" was redacted.
Foster parent for 25 years
More than 500 pages were released, including information about a Jan. 10 search at the Department of Social Development's office in Saint John.
Police seized files related to Snook being a foster parent.
They also seized "all files of disclosures made by children pertaining to Donnie Snook," according to the court documents.
"I believe these records will help to identify victims," Const. Gordon Redfurn, of the family protection unit, stated in an information to obtain the warrant, dated Jan. 18.
Snook told police during a caution statement he had been a foster parent for 25 years for the Department of Social Development, the documents state.
It's unknown how many children he served as a foster parent for during those years, according to the documents.
Police have said they are investigating several new sexual abuse allegations against Snook and that more charges are possible.
The investigation dates back to March 2011, when a member of the RCMP's Internet Child Exploitation unit discovered an unknown person trading child pornography in Saint John area, according to the court documents.
The unknown user engaged in graphic online chats with the undercover officer about the abuse of young boys, the documents state.
Police eventually traced the unknown user to Snook's home on the city's east side, the documents allege.
"My conclusion is that I believe that [the unknown computer user] is Donnie Snook, as he was the only person home at 575 Martha Avenue at that time," Redfurn states in the information to obtain the warrants.
The investigation against Snook could take up to a year or more to complete, Redfurn said.
Police have seized several computers, including an iPad owned by the City of Saint John , video recordings and video equipment from his home.
They also searched a camper and 2011 Ford Escape that were both parked in his driveway.
Search warrants are normally public documents.