Supreme Court will hear Adil Charkaoui's appeal
A Montreal man accused of being a terrorist who recently won a landmark ruling on security certificates at the Supreme Court of Canada will now get a chance totake a second caseto the country's top court.
The court has agreed to hear an appealfrom Moroccan-born Adil Charkaoui, who is contestingthe security certificate proceedings brought against him by the federal government on the grounds the Canadian Security Intelligence Service tainted evidence brought against him.
The appeal grant comes on the heels of a historic Supreme Court ruling that has left Charkaoui in legal limbo. In February 2007, the country's highest court struck down security certificates, ruling theyviolate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Charkaoui, who was detained undera certificate for two years,was one of three men who won the ruling. The court suspended its judgment for a year to allow time for the federal governmentto rewrite its security laws, leaving the certificates in place untilthat point.
Charkaoui's securitycertificate proceedings are also still pending,with no sign from Ottawa that it willformally withdraw its case against him.
With the appeal granted by the Supreme Court on Thursday,Charkaoui will get another chance to close the case against him.
His lawyers will ask the country's top court to stopthe security certificate hearing on the grounds his rights were violated and he was denied due process because of how CSIS handled evidence collected on him.
Records destroyed, summaries kept
Most of the evidence used in the security certificate case was based on notes and recordings of various interviews Charkaoui gave to CSIS investigatorsfour years ago. The evidence was classified and not released to his defence lawyer, Dominique Larochelle.
In 2005, during a bail review hearing, CSIS investigators testified they destroyed records of their interviews with him, but kept summaries, as policy dictates at the security agency. That compromised Charkaoui's rights, Larochelletold CBC. "If the proof is altered, thecase is biased."
Charkaoui contends the missing notes and tapes would have helped him mount a defence to establish his innocence and strike down the security certificate.
Charkaoui's supporters say until the Supreme Court ruling is enacted, he could, in theory,still be ordered to leave the country.
Under the certificate,authoritiescanorder him deported, even though that hasn't yet been done.
Larochelle first appealed the proceedings two years ago on the grounds that evidence used againstCharkaoui was tainted. Her request was turned down by theFederal Court, and by the Federal Court of Appeal in February 2006.
The proceedings were suspended in March 2005 pending a second unrelated appeal to the federal minister of immigration. Charkaoui is seeking assurance he would be protected if he were to be deported to his native Morocco. The minister has notyet issued a decision.
Charkaouihas repeatedly denied any terrorist activity, even as CSIS produced evidence it alleged proves hewas connected to the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group, which is linked to al-Qaeda.
Larochelle is also contesting that evidence, arguing it was introduced after the security certificate was issued against her client.
Charkaoui was granted bail under strict conditions in February 2005.
With files from the Canadian Press