Canada high court scolds spy agency in terror case

Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:14pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada's highest court on Thursday scolded the country's spy agency for destroying evidence about a man fighting deportation over alleged terror links, in the government's second loss in a high-profile security case this week.

But the Supreme Court refused to completely stop the case against Adil Charkaoui, a Moroccan national living as a legal immigrant in Montreal. Authorities allege he trained at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service had a duty to give immigration officials all of information it had on Charkaoui when they were deciding whether to consider him a threat to national security.

Charkaoui denies he has any links to al Qaeda.

Charkaoui argued CSIS violated his rights by destroying notes and recordings made during interviews with him, making them unavailable to a judge deciding if the government was right to issue a security certificate against him.

"As things stand, the destruction by CSIS officers of their operational notes compromises the very function of judicial review," the court ruled.

CSIS argued Canada's intelligence-gathering laws only allowed its officers to keep their operational notes in limited circumstances, and the information was kept in summary reports.

The justices said the agency was misinterpreting its own mandate on what information had to be kept.   Continued...