Witnesses testifying in public inquiries NOT necessarily protected

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 that the sworn testimony of witnesses who testify during public inquiries 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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Experts make recommendations to improve judicial nomination process

At the risk of discouraging the “best” candidates from applying for appointment to the judiciary, Quebec’s system of nominating judges should bolster disclosure requirements to enhance transparency and accountability while constraining the discretionary powers of the Minister of Justice by compelling him to select from a short, if not ranked, list of candidates, according to series of comprehensive and wide-ranging recommendations made by experts commissioned by the Bastarache Commission.

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