Seizure of Montreal journalist's laptop upheld by Quebec Superior Court

A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled that the police seizure of Montreal journalist Michaël Nguyen's laptop in September was legal.

Sûreté du Québec seized Michaël Nguyen's computer because police believed he illegally accessed information

The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec said Friday it's pleased Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions has decided not to lay charges against Journal de Montréal reporter Michaël Nguyen. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled that the police seizure of a Montreal journalist's laptop was legal.

The decision comes after the French-language newspaper Le Journal de Montréal challenged the warrant granted by a justice of the peace, Nicole Martin, that led to the seizure.

In September, the Sûreté du Québec confiscated the computer of the Journal's justice reporter, Michaël Nguyen, because investigators believed he had illegally obtained information cited in an article he wrote last June about Quebec Superior Court Justice Suzanne Vadboncoeur.

The article revealed that Vadboncoeur had been cited in a complaint filed by a police officer for allegedly insulting constables after a Christmas party in December 2015. 

The Conseil de la magistrature, an independent body that oversees the conduct of judges, filed its own complaint with the SQ after Nguyen's article appeared. 

The council claimed information about the complaint was obtained by illegally hacking into its website, which led to the warrant granted by Martin.

Vadboncoeur later apologized for her behaviour before the same council in September.

Le Journal unsuccessfully argued that the SQ did not have enough evidence to obtain a warrant and seize Nguyen's laptop.

In her decision, Justice Alicia Sol​devila rejected the Journal's challenge and upheld the warrant granted by Martin.