Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rocco! Rocco! Rocco!

Good Day Readers:

A special thank you Chris Budgell in Vancouver for sending the article below about Rocco Galati who's representing Alex Chapman at the Douglas Inquiry. Mr. Budgell also has an interesting story to tell. He filed a couple complaints with the Canadian Judicial Council and received word on the results the other day which we hope to have more to say about shortly.

In case you're wondering about the boxing gloves, at the Inquiry we referred to Mr. Galati as, we can't say it anymore but it begins with capital "R" and ends in "y," that is, until his Assistant, Articling Student Dushahi Sribavan, mentioned he didn't like it so we had to come up with another.

Well, after Inquiry Counsel George "The New Rocky" Macintosh finished knocking out Jack King (First round no less!) in his cross-examination, Rocco Galati correctly predicted Lori Douglas' Lead Defence Lawyer Sheila Block would be on her feet trying quick as a flash to bring the Inquiry to a halt. That she indeed did only to receive the equivalent of a "judicial whacking" from the Committee for her troubles.

Also, thought it wise not to use the R-word, at least in Mr. Galati's presence, when he casually mentioned he used to practice kick boxing - Yikes!

Spent an interesting Thursday at The Law Courts. Noticed James Lockyer was plying the hallways.
He's best known for his work as Founding Director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.  handling a couple cases well-known to Manitobans (David Milgard, James Driskill) but there have been several others over the years. Wonder what brought him here from Toronto? Nothing on the Daily Docket jumped out at us plus one of our main sources was away. Is something important about to come down?

Our real reason for being at The Law Courts was to continue research for our continuing series, The Delichte File! (Karyn L. Delichte versus Brendan N. Rogers FD04-01-73022). A couple months ago as the Douglas Inquiry was preparing to reconvene we wondered what Jack King was doing given he was never disbarred (Petersen King). A check of the online Queen's Bench File Registry lead us to this case.

By The Numbers

  • Since March of 2004 there have been almost 400 filings and the case appears headed to The Appeal Court of Manitoba for a second time
  • To date 14 Queen's Bench Justices and 5 Masters have touched this file at one time or another. There are 44 Justices so that's about 1 in 3
  • The material is contained in 2 large cardboard boxes. Reading everything would take at least 3 months working full-time
  • It has everything you could possible image in a Family Division File - Petition for Divorce, Affidavits, Motions, Briefs, Protection Order, Private Investigator's Report, Family Photographs ..... 
Is Delichte-Rogers a poster child or microcosm of what's wrong with Family Division? That's the picture starting to come into focus.Although we've yet to find the kitchen sink we're still looking.

We'll also be looking at another Family Division file in which Lori Douglas has some involvement while a practicing family lawyer with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman.

Clare L. Pieuk
CSIS accused of breaching lawyer-client privilege Staff
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Lawyer Rocco Galati is seen after testifying in the national-security case of Mohamed Mahjoub, outside Federal Court in Toronto on Wednesday, August 8, 2010. (Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press)
Mohammed Mahjob arrives at Federal Court in Ottawa, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, as hearings resume into the reasonability of the security certificate imposed on him. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

A Toronto lawyer says he was shocked to learn that intelligence officials were intercepting his phone calls with two clients who had been labelled national security threats.

Rocco Galati told The Canadian Press that he had a long-standing hunch that his calls with Mohamed Mahjoub and Mahmoud Jaballah were being monitored, but was stunned to find evidence that his suspicions were true.

"I couldn't believe the degree to which the judicial process had been corrupted," Galati told CP outside Federal Court on Wednesday.

Mahjoub and Jaballah are the recipients of separate national security certificates, which allow the government to detain or remove foreign nationals who “pose a serious threat” to Canada.

Lawyers for Mahjoub have returned to court in an effort to prove that security officials breached their client’s privilege to communicate privately with his legal team.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service admitted to listening in on Mahjoub's calls with his lawyers in 2008, but only to monitor his bail conditions.

A judge swiftly ordered an end to the practice after Mahjoub’s lawyers argued that their client never agreed to waive solicitor-client privilege, which guarantees him access to confidential communication with his lawyers.

Now, Mahjoub’s lawyers say they’ve obtained information that proves CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency have been intercepting communication between Mahjoub and his lawyers all along.

Mahjoub was arrested in June 2000 after the federal government labelled him a threat to national security, alleging he was a high-ranking member of a terrorist group. Since then, he has spent more than a decade in prison or under house arrest without charge.

Mahjoub’s lawyers appeared in a Toronto courtroom on Wednesday to present evidence that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) violated solicitor-client privilege.

“We’ve received documents from the Department of Justice that includes information they simply could not have had without illegal access to confidential conversations between Mr. Mahjoub, his family and his lawyers,” Lawyer Yavar Hameed said in a prepared statement.

Court was expected to hear conversations that were allegedly obtained illegally.

Galati, who specializes in cases related to terrorism, appeared on the witness stand to testify about his correspondence with Mahjoub.Galati represented Mahjoub between 2000 and 2003.

Complicating matters, CSIS was forced to reissue Mahjoub’s security certificate after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the certificate process was unconstitutional in 2007.

Mahjoub, a Toronto resident and father of three, is fighting to have the certificate revoked.

But what started as a quest to clear his name has branched off into a multifaceted case, touching upon the ethics of security certificates and the validity of information derived by torture.

Documents obtained by the Canadian Press show CSIS was aware that most of the information it used to brand Mahjoub as a security threat was obtained by agencies linked to torture.

Last summer, Federal Court Justice Edmond Blanchard ordered 11 federal lawyers and assistants off of the case after the government inadvertently took Mahjoub’s confidential legal files.

Mahjoub’s lawyers argued that the incident damaged their client’s right to a fair trial, accusing Ottawa of violating both solicitor-client privilege and litigation privilege, which prevents premature disclosure of documents that may be used in a court case.

After the document seizure, Blanchard would not stay proceedings, noting that the incident “although negligent, was unintentional.” He did, however, say Mahjoub’s legal team could use the incident and subsequent delays to claim an abuse of process.

Recently, the Federal Court ruled that abstracts of wiretap information used against Mahjoub had to be tossed out because CSIS destroyed the original records.

Mahjoub, who is on release from prison, had his house-arrest conditions eased last February.


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