New information in unsealed court documents has the BCCLA demanding an investigation into the RCMP for seizing the computers of a man who says he was helping unhappy RCMP members post their concerns online. On August 18, 2012, Grant Wakefield’s computers and cell phone were seized in a joint RCMP Major Crime and New Westminster Police Department operation.
The RCMP has confirmed that Wakefield was the informant whose information and photographs started high profile code of conduct and criminal investigations into Port Coquitlam RCMP officer Jim Brown’s activities. Simultaneously, Wakefield was also anonymously assisting disgruntled members of the RCMP to run a blog called the “Re-Sergence Alliance” blog, a blog that posted alleged RCMP front line member concerns about RCMP management and policy online.
The BCCLA adds:
“We’re asked to believe the RCMP used the resources of their major crime section, computer forensics team, the Federal Department of Justice, and a search warrant, to investigate what amounts to conspiracy theories posted in the comment section of an erotic blog and a Twitter account with thirteen followers,” said Eby. “Defamatory comments are made every day on the internet, and the RCMP doesn’t send their major crime team to investigate. What makes this case unique is that the man who had his computers taken away by the police was using those computers to help unhappy RCMP members publish their concerns online.”
The BCCLA is demanding the Commission for Public Complaints investigate the entire RCMP operation against Grant Wakefield, and has written to them to file a complaint.
Click here to read the unsealed court documents >>
The decision of P. D. Gulbransen, J. partially unsealing the RCMP search warrant is reported at B.C. Civil Liberties Association v. Regina, 2012 BCPC 406 (CanLII).
Criminalization of defamation is a pernicious form of libel chill and is anathema to a free and democratic society. It is high time for the archaic and illiberal criminal offence of defamatory libel to be relegated to the dustbin of legal history.