Justice Minister Troy Lifford says instructions by civil servants to destroy emailed or hard-copy photographs concerning a 2012 accident involving a sheriff's van transporting prisoners were "unfortunate."

Lifford was questioned in the legislature on Wednesday about government secrecy and his department's lack of policies about prisoner transport in inclement weather and the use of seatbelts.

Troy Lifford

Justice minister Troy Lifford says instructions by civil servants to destroy records were "unfortunate" and an "isolated incident." (CBC)

The questions by Liberal Leader Brian Gallant come on the heels of a CBC News investigation into the April 2012 accident that seriously injured two inmates and the government's attempts to shield the incident from public scrutiny. 

CBC News obtained government emails through the Right to Information Act in which the director of Sheriff Services orders employees to recall or destroy any emailed or hard-copy photographs of the wrecked van.

"That's a very disappointing and unfortunate incident," Lifford said after question period on Wednesday.

"Certainly we don't condone that type of behaviour amongst employees. It's disappointing.

"That's an unfortunate incident, an isolated one and we certainly don't condone it," he said.

Lifford would not comment on whether disciplinary action will be taken.