Politics

National security case against senior RCMP official could go behind closed doors

Federal prosecutors are signalling they want to move the national-secrets case against a senior RCMP official behind closed doors — at least temporarily — while a key issue is sorted out.

March hearing will address how Ortis's lawyer can communicate with his client

Cameron Ortis, a senior intelligence official at the RCMP, walks away from the courthouse in Ottawa with his lawyer Ian Carter. Ortis is accused on charges of violating the Security of Information Act and breach of trust for allegedly disclosing secrets to an unknown recipient. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Federal prosecutors are signalling they want to move the national-secrets case against a senior RCMP official behind closed doors — at least temporarily — while a key issue is sorted out.

Prosecutor Judy Kliewer said the Crown intends to ask that the public and media be excluded from a March 17 pre-trial hearing in the case of Cameron Jay Ortis, contrary to the usual principle that courts operate in the open.

Ortis, 47, is accused of Security of Information Act violations, breach of trust and a computer-related offence.

The director general of the RCMP's National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre was arrested Sept. 12, accused of revealing secrets to an unnamed recipient and planning to give additional classified information to an unspecified foreign entity.

The March hearing is intended to address how Ortis's lawyer, Ian Carter, can communicate with his client about the case without fear of violating the secrets law himself.

Kliewer said the hearing may touch on the very nature of the secrets at issue, meaning it should be held behind closed doors.

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