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In and out of Federal Court: Watch this space for possible liveblogging action


 

9:06:17 AM
Well, I’m here – the only one here, in fact, which is probably because I left myself plenty of time to get lost or show up at the wrong building entirely. I’m sitting in the very back of an utterly unremarkable courtroom — it’s even smaller than I expected, with just four tables and a single row of chairs at the back, and a minimalist desk at the front where the prothonotary — Mireille Tabib — will presumably be seated when the hearing gets underway in — just over fifteen minutes. So far, nobody has blinked twice at my Blackberry, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that I’ll be able to blog throughout.

.9:11:44 AM
I’m not alone anymore – a lawyer — or, at least, a lawyerly-looking gentleman has just arrived, bearing not one but two oversized briefcases and a two-inch stack of documents and a pile of handwritten notes. No, I’m not going to try to read them – that really would get me thrown out, I suspect. He’s just been joined by another gentleman – this one with only a soft messenger baggy case – and they’re chatting in French.
Gosh, I hope that isn’t the case for the whole hearing – there are no earpieces that I can see, which means we’ll have to rely on my sometimes mercurial translation skills.

9:19:41 AM
The gentleman beside me is reading through an in-and-out-related clipping file. I’m not sure if he’s a lawyer – or, at least, a lawyer representing one of the parties here – or just an interested observer like me.

So far, I’ve got to admit that this isn’t exactly a scene from To Kill A Mockingbird. On the plus side, I can see the case file from here; hopefully, I’ll be able to look through it after the hearing.

9:27:29 AM
It always surprises me to see how — papercentric some lawyers seem to be, even in the age of e-everything. Not a single laptop in sight.

10:37:23 AM
Okay, so I guess you’ve probably gathered that liveblogging is not, in fact, allowed during the session. Worth a shot, right? Anyway, I’m taking notes with my increasingly cramped up hand, and will file a full report after the hearing.

A microrecap (during the brief morning break):
Michel Decary, who is now representing the two Conservative candidates behind the application for judicial review, wants the court to allow him to introduce new affidavits based on what he claims was a major revelation during the cross-examination of Elections Canada official Janice Vezina over the changes to the candidate manual – you remember, deleting all references to advertisements promoting the party – which, he claims, shows that EC was applying a new test.

The judge – er, prothonotary – seems sceptical, but open to arguments; she mostly doesn’t seem to think that there was anything that came out of Vezina’s deposition that wasn’t already an issue under dispute.

Anyway, we’re taking a ten minute break, and then the lawyer for Elections Canada will respond. I’m going to try to imbibe some caffeine in the meantime, and maybe do wrist yoga.

12:29:46 PM
Okay, I’m out – for good – and will type up my full (and fabulously heiroglyphic) notes when I’m back at my desk and some feeling has returned to my wrist, but in a nutshell:

Elections Canada lawyer Barbara McIsaac, unsurprisingly, opposed the motion to introduce the two affidavits, arguing that it was an attempt by the two candidates to “split” the application by submitting new arguments at the eleventh hour.

But if the court does allow it, she wants the right not only to crossexamine the applicants on the new claims contained in the affidavits, *and* leave to introduce evidence in response — like, say, the search warrant application filed by the

Commissioner of Elections. Duh duh DUH! Decary looked entirely unthrilled by that possibility, but luckily for him, the prothonotary didn’t seem too convinced that this was necessary, although she didn’t rule it out completely.

My guess is that she’ll allow portions of the two affidavits, with cross examination to take place sometime in the next two weeks.

Anyway, my actual notes are a wee bit more detailed than that, but I’ll leave you with that for the moment. Sorry for the disappearing act – justice is, apparently, not quite ready for its liveblogging closeup.


 

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