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Project Traveller: Search warrant information in gang sweep to stay secret until after Aug. 27

This photograph taken in front of a Windsor Rd. home shows Mayor Rob Ford in the centre, murder victim Anthony Smith, left, and two other young men, one of whom was also shot in the same incident in which Smith was killed but survived.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

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Information used to obtain search warrants executed as part of a Toronto gang sweep will be kept secret until after Aug. 27, a judge ruled Tuesday.

After the Star and counsel for other media outlets submitted an application to have the search warrants related to 12 addresses in Etobicoke and North York made public, Justice Philip Downes ruled the information to obtain that authorization will first be made available to counsel only by no later than Aug. 27.

That version will have some portions redacted by the Crown, who will also provide reasons for keeping those sections secret — such as the use of a confidential source.

Counsel will then return to court before Sept. 12 to argue which sections should remain redacted before the document is released to the public.

The Star has been fighting in court to make public the search warrants related to addresses targeted during raids on June 13 as part of the year-long Project Traveller, arguing that information as it may relate to links to Mayor Rob Ford is in the public interest.

Toronto Police used two authorized wiretaps to carry out a year-long guns and gangs sweep, according to court documents.

That information is part of an affidavit filed by Project Traveller lead investigator Det. Gavin Horner after an application made by the Star and other media outlets to have a search warrant unsealed for 12 locations in Etobicoke and North York.

On Tuesday, other media outlets, including the Globe and Mail and CBC, filed a similar application represented collectively by lawyer Peter Jacobsen


After the Star appeared in court before Justice Sally Marin on June 17, the Crown was ordered to return in two weeks with its position on why the search warrants, or some portion, should remain sealed.

On Tuesday, the Crown submitted an interim response and again asked they be given at least a six-month adjournment to notify those accused and allow the relevant documents to first be disclosed to those parties. The Crown also argued vetting the documents and removing portions they believe should be censored could take six to nine months.

Counsel for the Star, Ryder Gilliland, and Jacobsen argued the Crown should provide, without delay, the information to obtain a search warrant and reasons justifying the redaction of each section, saying the public has a right to know that information.

Crown attorney Paul Renwick, who is also in charge of the case against those accused in Project Traveller, said the question is not if the search warrants will be made public, but when.

According to Horner’s affidavit, the documents used to obtain the wiretap alone total 1,100 pages.

Sources told the Star that police became aware of a video of Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine during surveillance for Project Traveller.

Ford also appeared in a now infamous photograph with three men — two whom were arrested as part of the sweep and one who was shot dead in March. That photo was taken in front of a Windsor Rd. house targeted by the search warrant the Star is trying to obtain.

Another unit on Dixon Rd., also named in the warrant, was the address that Ford blurted out at a meeting with staff, sources told the Star, saying the video could be found there.

Police also obtained warrants for production orders, dialed number recorder warrants, cellphone examination search warrants, access to youth records, resident and vehicle search warrants and authorization to enter a dwelling.

Source: Toronto Star


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