CCLA has written to Fredericton’s city administrator, who is looking into the city’s options for a public review of the arrest and investigation of blogger Charles LeBlanc in relation to comments he made on his blog about a city police officer. Earlier this year, Mr. LeBlanc was arrested and his computer searched and seized under a rarely used Criminal Code defamation provision that has been found unconstitutional in multiple jurisdictions. CCLA, along with law professors and other community members, had been demanding that charges not be laid because of the unconstitutionality of the provision and the potential chilling effect it would have on freedom of expression.
Earlier this month, the Attorney General of New Brunswick decided not to proceed with charges, finding it highly unlikely that any court in the province would find the Criminal Code section constitutional. While we are pleased with this recognition of the section’s unconstitutionality and the decision to abandon charges under it, there remain important questions that need to be answered with regard to the appropriateness of the police investigation in this matter.
In our letter, we assert that any inquiry into the actions of the police forces involved in the case must be prompt, credible, comprehensive and transparent in order to restore public confidence in policing. While the chilling effect this case has had on freedom of expression in the community will likely linger, an independent and impartial review will help repair the trust between the public and policing in Fredericton.
Read more about CCLA’s involvement in the case here.
Read CCLA’s letter to the City of Fredericton here.