In the matter of Hassan Diab & the demand for public release of the Segal Report and a call for a Public Inquiry

Toronto, ON, May 30, 3019 –  In June of last year, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association along with a number of other public interest organizations urged the former Minister of Justice to conduct a public inquiry into the circumstances giving rise to Hassan Diab’s extradition to France in 2014 particularly given the role of and representations made by counsel with the Department of Justice during the extradition process.  Notwithstanding the repeated requests for an inquiry to be called, the Minister of Justice decided instead to conduct an internal review of the matter and then, later, an external review by independent counsel (Mr. Murray Segal) under very circumscribed conditions.  The final report from Mr. Segal was delivered to Minister of Justice David Lametti earlier this week. 

We are calling upon the Minister of Justice to release the Segal Report and to order the inquiry that his predecessor failed to do.   Transparency, accountability and fairness require that Mr. Diab and the community at large be made aware of the nature and scope of Mr. Segal’s mandate, the investigations he undertook, and the conclusions he reached as to whether government lawyers followed the law and departmental procedures in connection with the extradition of Hassan Diab.

Additionally, and more importantly, a public inquiry must be held into this matter to resolve any questions of the propriety of government officials.   As we noted in our original letter:

Absent a full independent inquiry with an appointed Commissioner, transparency will not be fostered.  Doubts will remain regarding the scope of any “independent” investigation particularly in the absence of an opportunity for various interested parties to advocate for change.   Because one of the issues that needs to be explored is the conduct of your agents, anything less than a formal Inquiry will create an appearance of bias in favour of those lawyers in the IAG whose conduct is being impugned.  Additionally, if there is a problem with the way in which IAG lawyers are litigating extradition cases or interpreting their obligations to the administration of justice in that context, the best way to examine that and correct the problem is by way of recommendations from a Commission of Inquiry.  Unfortunately, as a result of the public revelations about the manner in which the Diab extradition was handled, the public’s confidence in the role of your counsel and Canada’s role as an extradition partner has been tainted.  Lawyers, many of whom are members of our organization, that are dealing with the IAG or will be dealing with them in the future can no longer have the trust and confidence in assertions or representations that are made.   This will only delay and frustrate legitimate extradition requests going forward and lead to more extensive litigation in an area that is already plagued with lengthy delay.

The Criminal Lawyers’ Association once again supports Mr. Diab and others that have made similar requests.

The Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA) represents more than 1300 members. Our membership consists primarily of criminal defence lawyers in Ontario.  We are actively involved in lobbying efforts in the area of substantive and procedural criminal justice reform and intervening on important criminal law issues in appellate courts in Ontario and at the Supreme Court of Canada.

A full summary of the circumstances giving rise to Mr. Diab’s extradition can be found in the press release dated May 29, 2019 through the Hassan Diab Support Committee. www.justiceforhassandiab.org.

For more information contact:

Michael Lacy
Criminal Lawyers’ Association

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