Lich Trial Highlights: November 3, 2023

On day 26 of the Barber trial, Justice Heather Perkins-McVey made her decision regarding the release of a number of heavily redacted emails between police officers in the Ottawa Police Service. She stated that she would be releasing some of the emails but not all of them. The crown requested and was granted the opportunity to review the released emails prior to the documents going public.

Perkins-McVey discussed the issue of solicitor-client privilege, explaining that this privilege exists when a solicitor and client seek legal advice in confidentiality. She stated that the court must determine whether privilege has been waived if it has been claimed. Privilege can be waived voluntarily, by application, inadvertently, or by intentional acts.

Perkins-McVey then addressed specific disputed emails. She stated that she saw no reason not to disclose the redactions in certain emails that were duplications. She also stated that she agreed that some of the redacted portions of another email (written by Sgt. Phong Li) fell under solicitor-client privilege, but not all of it. She explained that some of the redacted text was simply setting out instructions.

Perkins-McVey also addressed an email sent to 13 PLT (Police Liaison Team) officers, stating that this email was not tantamount to legal advice but an officer's opinion. She explained that there was nothing to suggest that the email was advice from the crown. Lastly, she addressed an email sent from Sgt. Li to Officer Bach, stating that this email was a statement over which the court had found waiver (of privilege). She explained that some of this email was properly claimed as solicitor-client privilege, but some of it was not.

Lawrence Greenspon, attorney for Tamara Lich, stated that he may need to recall some of the crown witnesses as a result of this new information.

The crown then provided Perkins-McVey with a document containing the text messages from Barber's phone. There were some disagreements regarding redactions in these text messages, and counsel requested that Perkins-McVey make a ruling on the contested redactions. It is important to note that there is a publication ban on Barber's text messages, so no details about their content can be released.

Disclaimer: Please remember this update is given for information purposes only. It is not legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should consult a lawyer for specific advice.

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