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International Law - Extradition and criminal mutual legal assistance - Criminal mutual legal assistance

Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 8:00 PM  

Application by Suthanthiran, Best Theratronics Ltd. and Best Medical Belgium for leave to appeal an order directing seized material to be sent to Belgium for use in a criminal investigation. Belgian authorities investigated fraudulent transactions allegedly perpetrated by the applicants. They officially requested the assistance of Canada in searching and seizing records in possession of the applicants. The Canadian authorities complied. They obtained a warrant and seized material that included information related to trade secrets and other sensitive commercial information. The applicants contended that the information was highly valuable and could destroy their business if disclosed to a commercial rival. The applicants alleged that one such rival was partially owned by the Belgian government. The government of Canada obtained an order directing the seized material be sent to Belgium for use in the criminal investigation. The applicants sought leave to appeal the order.

HELD: Application allowed. Leave to appeal was granted on the question of whether the application judge erred in law by refusing to impose terms and conditions that would minimize the risk that the applicants’ confidential information would be unnecessarily and inappropriately disclosed to third parties. The proposed appeal raised a question of law that was unsettled, with formidable arguments supported by jurisprudence for and against the proposition advanced by the applicants. The issue was of general importance, as it involved legitimate commercial and privacy concerns in the context of requests for mutual legal assistance with respect to international commerce and international crime.