Monday, March 31, 2008

Parliamentary Committee Report on the Canadian Witness Protection Program

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security recently released its report entitled Review of the witness protection program:
"Various measures to protect vulnerable and threatened witnesses are used across the country, from the simplest police and legal protection to the most complex. This report examines one of the measures implemented by the federal government to provide longterm protection to witnesses whose physical safety is in jeopardy because they are cooperating with the authorities. The federal Witness Protection Program, the focus of this report, is a last resort at the end of the protection continuum (...)"

"In April 2007, media attention surrounding an individual in the Witness Protection Program who was charged with murder while under the protection of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) prompted the Committee to undertake a review of the Program. Although the Committee endeavoured to determine whether changes should be made to the Program to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, its study was not limited to the examination of this case. On 29 March 2007, the Committee adopted a broad mandate to 'review the RCMP’s role in the Witness Protection Program'."

"From 19 April 2007 to 4 February 2008, the Committee held seven meetings during which two lawyers involved in witness protection cases in Canada; three experts from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States; and representatives from the RCMP, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Justice Canada and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP all shared their points of view (...)"

"This report summarizes the information gleaned from the Committee’s review of the Witness Protection Program. It covers the origins of the Program, its role in relation to the series of protective measures for vulnerable and threatened witnesses, its operation and administration, key concerns raised during the hearings, and our own comments and recommendations. Following consideration of the testimony heard, the Committee finds that it is time to renew the Witness Protection Program Act so that the Witness Protection Program is more accessible, effective and transparent."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:08 pm


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