Thursday, March 20, 2008

LEVANT Explains part of the upcoming Secret Trial in Ottawa

What exactly is the March 25th hearing about?

Next Tuesday is the hearing in Ottawa where staff of the Canadian Human Rights Commission will have to answer questions, under oath, about their investigative and prosecutorial techniques. Whether or not that hearing will be open to the public is something we don't yet know; right now, it's in camera. Maybe Maclean's magazine's lawyers can blast those locked doors open.

We know a bit about Dean Steacy, one of the CHRC investigators who will be on the stand next week. He's the fellow who refused to accept a human rights complaint from a citizen whose brother and sister were, according to gossip, racists, and because the bigotry complained about was on the website of an "anti-racist" group. Steacy is the one who cruises anti-Semitic websites under a pseudonym. He's the one who declared that freedom of speech has no place in HRCs, since it's an American concept. In other words, we know all we need to know about Dean Steacy: he rejects our British inheritance of free speech as un-Canadian and he puts his own personal views ahead of the rule of law.

But how about Hannya Rizk, who will also be examined under oath next Monday? Unlike Richard Warman or Steacy, Rizk hasn't built her career on section 13 thought crimes -- she's more of a dabbler, handling just a few section 13 cases in her time at the CHRC. (She went on "health" leave, and has apparently since left the commission.) But she was the investigator in charge of the Marc Lemire prosecution. Too bad for her that she was assigned the one accused who decided to fight back.

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