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N.S. Mountie faces questions over redacted warrants in mass killing case

Search warrants are supposed to be made public after they have been executed, with some exceptions
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HALIFAX — A senior RCMP officer in Nova Scotia who obtained search warrants for the investigation into the mass shooting in April was grilled in court today about why most of those documents remain heavily redacted.

Search warrants are supposed to be made public after they have been executed, with some exceptions, but in this case the Crown has produced heavily redacted versions that are now the subject of a court challenge by media outlets, including The Canadian Press.

RCMP Sgt. Angela Hawryluk was cross-examined by media lawyer David Coles, who repeatedly asked the officer to justify why large sections of the warrants remain blacked out and beyond public scrutiny.

Hawryluk said the release of key information could jeopardize the RCMP's ongoing investigation of Gabriel Wortman's murderous rampage on April 18-19, which claimed the lives of 22 victims over a 13-hour span.

As well, Crown lawyers argued that certain names in the documents had to remain confidential because these people and at least one business have been deemed "innocent third parties" whose identities must be protected.

Provincial court Judge Laurel Halfpenny-MacQuarrie signed an order Wednesday to release some previously redacted content, though none of that information shed any new light on the case.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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