Antonio Accurso v. France Charbonneau, ès qualités de commissaire et présidente de la Commission d'enquête sur l'octroi et la gestion des contrats publics dans l'industrie de la construction, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Evidence – Objection – Applicant currently subject of penal or criminal investigations summoned to appear before Commission of Inquiry on Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in Construction Industry – Application seeking constitutional exemption and annulment of summons – Crown objecting to testimonial evidence and requesting annulment of subpoenas duces tecum – Whether evidence sought relevant and admissible in support of request for constitutional exemption – Whether rules on application of public interest immunity to protection of ongoing investigations followed.

The applicant Mr. Accurso was summoned to appear before the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry chaired by the respondent, the Honourable France Charbonneau. He is currently the subject of penal or criminal investigations. Fearing that the Commission’s predominant purpose was to force him to provide evidence that would be used to determine his penal liability, he applied to the Quebec Superior Court for judicial review with respect to the summons. He asked that he be granted a constitutional exemption to excuse him from testifying and that the summons be annulled.

In the judicial review proceedings, the respondents objected to the testimony of certain witnesses summoned by Mr. Accurso and requested that subpoenas duces tecum be annulled. The Superior Court granted the requests in part, and the Court of Appeal denied leave to appeal from the interlocutory judgments.