Court of Appeal of Quebec

Beals c. Anctil

November 28, 2018


St-Pierre, Schrager, Healy

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court dismissing an application for habeas corpus with certiorari in aid. Dismissed.

The appellant was incarcerated in a minimum security institution. His security classification was reassessed and increased after he was alleged to have participated in various unlawful institutional activities. Despite the appellant’s denying the allegations, his transfer to a medium security institution was approved by the prison authorities, who did not reply to requests by his counsel for additional information concerning the alleged incidents.  An application for habeas corpus, filed in July 2017, was heard and dismissed in October 2017. The morning of the appeal hearing, the Court was informed that the inmate’s detention had been restored the previous day, but the members of the panel decided to hear the case and take it under advisement.

Even though the case is moot, it appears necessary to restate the procedural rules applicable to a habeas corpus review, a proceeding that has priority over all other applications and that is intended to protect fundamental rights and offer rapid and real access to justice. Every actor in the justice system should review and correct, if necessary, their approach, processes, or rules of management, so that these pressing and important objectives are achieved. It should also be noted that since the new Code of Civil Procedure (CQLR, c. C-25.01) came into force, there is only one step in a habeas corpus review, contrary to what occurred at trial, where everyone acted as though the case was supposed to proceed in two steps.

The appeal would have been allowed had the appellant’s detention not been restored. The appellant raised valid doubt as to the lawfulness of his detention, while the record revealed non-compliance with the requirements of procedural fairness. The trial judge’s error in this respect may have allowed the Court to intervene. Moreover, the judge erred in considering the appellant’s behaviour to determine whether he had requested information or reacted to the respondents’ breach of their obligation to disclose under s. 27 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (S.C. 1992, c. 20). The appellant’s inaction, if any, could not serve as an excuse or relieve them of their duties and obligations as well as the consequences of such a breach.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
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