- Good Morning from the Zundelsite:
- When I talked to Ernst last night, he said that the entire
prison was in lock-down and that his attorneys were not able to meet with
him and give him a status report about the hearing yesterday. This morning
I found this on my desk top: Another court has chosen to pass the buck
in the Zundel case. I can't pretend to understand all the intricacies of
what was going on here, but anybody versed in law will be able to study
the latest Zundel Factum in the Ontario Appeal court, to be posted on the
- Here is Paul Fromm's write-up about what happened yesterday:
- ZUNDEL'S TREATMENT IS "UN-CANADIAN" SAYS LINDSAY
- TORONTO. May 10. After less than five minutes of private
discussion at the end of a two hour hearing, a three judge panel of the
Ontario Court of Appeals turned down Ernst Zundel's habeas corpus appeal
on the grounds that the Ontario courts do not have jurisdiction.
- "We're of the view that this Court will dismiss
the appeal on the basis of jurisdiction," Madam Justice Charron told
the tiny Osgoode Hall courtroom packed with free speech supporters of the
65-year old German publisher.
- Lead defence lawyer Peter Lindsay strongly disagrees
and says that, despite the hefty cost -- estimated at $75,000 -- that this
case is headed for the Supreme Court of Canada.
- An angry and disappointed Lindsay told a media scrum:
"I was disappointed that I wasn't able to argue on the merits. All
I want to do is argue the constitutionality of the [immigration] act. These
secret trials are unconstitutional. They're un-Canadian! In the Zundel
case, the judge has gone out and consulted with the Crown during a break.
Someday, somehow we'll get to argue the merits of this case."
- The Ontario Court of Appeals seems to be saying "that
the only remedy is an action in the federal Court of Canada that could
take five years to be heard," Mr. Lindsay explained in the ornate
lobby of the ancient Ontario court in downtown Toronto. "Keep in mind,"
he added, "that this is all about Mr. Zundel who is in solitary confinement.
He's 65 years old. He's not been charged with a crime. He's never broken
the law in Canada. Yet, he's sat in prison for 15 months."
- "The decision by Mr. Justice Blais on detention
shows it's all based on secret evidence," the tall lanky defence lawyer
explained. "I'm very disappointed that we didn't get to argue on the
- The defence was appealing a decision by Ontario Superior
Court Judge Benotto that declined to hear the Zundel habeas corpus motion
in November on the basis that the federal court was the better place for
such a motion. In his submissions, Peter Lindsay noted: "The parties
agree that this Court has jurisdiction. The question is whether this Court
should exercise its power."
- "The real issue, in my respectful submission, is
whether the applicant should be required to pursue a Federal Court action,
which is less advantageous to Mr. Zundel, than a habeas corpus action in
provincial Court," Mr. Lindsay argued. "Mr. Zundel clearly and
unequivocally showed that an action in Federal Court was less advantageous
to him than a habeas corpus motion. He submitted evidence that the average
federal motion takes five years to get to trial. Is it better for Mr. Zundel
to wait for years in solitary confinement without charges or to wait for
a few months for a habeas corpus action in Provincial Court?" Mr.
- "Please consider some of the substantive complaints
about the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)," the defence
lawyer had asked the panel. "Secret proceedings are allowed by IRPA.
These can happen and have happened repeatedly and any time during the case
before the designated judge. This is a violation of a basic principle of
natural justice as guaranteed by the Charter," he argued.
- "Also, 'anything' can be accepted as evidence under
Sec. 78.j of IRPA. A judge can base his decision on that, on newspaper
articles, on hearsay or triple hearsay. Mr. Zundel has faced a mountain
of hearsay evidence which is unsworn and not subject to cross-examination,"
- Mr. Lindsay argued that the right to hear all the evidence,
the right to hear sworn testimony and the opportunity to cross-examine
all the evidence are violated by the Immigration and Refugee Protection
- "Section 80 of the Act doesn't require the judge
to determine whether a person is a danger to the security of Canada, but
only whether the certificate is reasonable," Mr. Lindsay explained.
"A judge might find that the person is not a threat but that it would
be reasonable for the minister to think he was and, in this case, he'd
be compelled to find the certificate reasonable."
- Even more troublesome, he said, was the fact that "Section
33 allows for speculation of what 'might' occur and this could lead to
a person's deportation."
- A hint of the decision to come was that the two female
judges, Charron and Galice, questioned Mr. Lindsay sceptically.
- Crown Attorney Donald MacIntosh countered: "Judge
Benotto was correct. The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly recognized
the Federal Court's expertise in immigration matters. Also this intersects
with national security. Parliament clearly intended that the designated
judges (like Pierre Blais in the Zundel case) have exclusive jurisdiction."
- Again waving the national security banner which has been
used to shroud so much evidence in the Zundel case and to forbid many defence
questions, Mr. MacIntosh warned that if the Appeals Court allowed a habeas
corpus action in Provincial Court: "There would be no opportunity
for the Superior Court to look at the secret evidence."
- "But why would we have to look at the secret evidence
to determine constitutionality," Judge Rosenberg asked. Rosenberg
who had earlier granted Mr. Lindsay's motion for an expedited hearing in
the matter asked and received no answer to his question: "Is there
any evidence in the record to refute Mr. Zundel's claim about the length
of time federal actions take?" -- Paul Fromm