Publication ban placed on identities of undercover police in N.S. cannabis case
HALIFAX -- A publication ban has been placed on the names of two undercover police officers who may testify in a Halifax woman's bid for compensation for marijuana plants she says police destroyed.
Judge Theodore Tax ordered the ban Thursday during a hearing into Sherri Reeve's application to be compensated for the alleged destruction of her medical marijuana plants and growing equipment following a September 2014 police seizure.
Reeve was in Dartmouth provincial court with her husband, Christopher Enns, the owner of the Farm Assists Medical Cannabis Resource Centre, for a status report on their application for compensation under section 24 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Enns is also bringing forward an application for compensation for the seizure and destruction of marijuana plants and equipment after the 2014 raid and plants seized but not destroyed in 2015, but he says his case will follow the result of Reeve's trial.
During the hearing, federal lawyer Jan Jensen said he'll be seeking a ruling on whether the provincial court has jurisdiction to provide a remedy to Reeve. He then asked for a temporary publication ban on the undercover officers' names in the meantime.
The ban was opposed by Kirk Tousaw, Reeve's lawyer, arguing it was "superfluous" and that the information about the undercover officer had already been in the public domain.
However, Tax granted the interim ban after Jensen argued the officers are still in the field and at risk of harm if their identities are publicly revealed.
"I can see the potential for physical harm, risk of intimidation or some other things that could put that particular officer in a very difficult position," said Tax.
Outside court, Jensen said he intends to argue the federal government does not owe Reeve compensation. He declined further comment on details of the case or the federal position.
During his decision, Tax said there could be further arguments on whether a permanent publication ban should be ordered when the couple, along with the lawyers, appear before him again on April 4.
"We have to sort out the jurisdictional issue first and foremost," said the judge.
Outside court, Reeve and Enns said they disagree with the publication ban and intend to instruct their lawyers to continue to fight it. They said they felt the undercover officers have gone beyond the norms of what should be permitted.