Michelle Shephard, Isabel Teotonio, Toronto Star
December 19, 2008
Monitoring of calls between terror suspect, lawyers called ‘invasive’
|Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub is shown with his children before he was detained. Mahjoub is accused of being a high-ranking member of a radical Egyptian organization and having ties to Al Qaeda.
Canada’s spy service has been intercepting telephone conversations between a terrorism suspect and his attorneys for more than a year and defence lawyers now want to know how these recorded communications were used and if this practice is widespread.
A federal court justice stunned lawyers in a Toronto courtroom yesterday when she revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had monitored conversations between Egyptian refugee Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub and his lawyers since his release on bail in the spring of 2007.
Mahjoub’s lawyers demanded that the monitoring immediately stop, calling the practice a breach of the fundamental right of solicitor-client privilege.
“I feel as though my house was broken into,” said his Toronto lawyer, Barb Jackman, outside the courtroom. “It’s incredibly invasive.”
Justice Carolyn Layden-Stevenson summoned a conference call in court late yesterday where CSIS lawyer Jim Mathieson agreed the monitoring would stop and that any conversation inadvertently recorded would be erased.
Layden-Stevenson then said she would amend the order for Mahjoub’s bail conditions to explicitly prohibit such recordings.