Witnesses testifying in public inquiries NOT necessarily protected

June 20, 2012

The lead counsel of a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption in Quebec’s construction industry inadvertently found himself in the spotlight over a thorny legal question surrounding the immunity of witnesses who testify before the inquiry.

Sylvain Lussier, lead Commission counsel of the Charbonneau Commission, said early this week that the sworn testimony of witnesses who testify during commissions of inquiry cannot be used against them in criminal proceedings. But the same may not hold true for civil proceedings.

He then backtracked after his team ostensibly examined the jurisprudence, and asserted that witnesses are protected from civil suits.

Except that Lussier said nothing new. […]

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