Court says implied undertaking applies to Stinchcombe disclosure

On March 15th the British Columbia Supreme Court issued a significant decision on the implied undertaking. It held:

  • that Crown disclosure in criminal cases is subject to an implied undertaking not to use the disclosure for a collateral purpose;
  • that the undertaking is not spent when disclosure materials are filed in interim applications (though is spent in respect of materials admitted as evidence at trial); and
  • that a court has inherent jurisdiction to enforce the undertaking by ordering materials to be returned to the Crown.

The Court ordered the respondents and their defence counsel to return documents to the Crown given the large volume of documents disclosed, the high profile nature of the criminal case, the number of third party interests implicated by the disclosure and the degree to which third party interests were affected and the failure of the Crown and respondents to agree on a means of adequately protecting the undertaking.

R. v. Basi, 2011 BCSC 314 (CanLII).

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