The Public Prosecution Service of Canada issued a statement saying it “wishes to respond to the media coverage” of the trial.

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Federal prosecutors on Thursday said they did nothing wrong in connection with a secret criminal trial that took place in Quebec and that was described by the province’s Court of Appeal as contrary to the fundamental principles of justice.

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Without explicitly stating that federal Crown lawyers took part in the case, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada issued a statement saying it “wishes to respond to the media coverage” of the secret trial.

The service, it said, “does not initiate prosecutions in secret and does not conduct secret trials, even in matters involving an informer.”

“Certain proceedings within a trial are required, based on applicable legal rules, to be confidential, including those that require informer privilege to be safeguarded.”

The statement came after Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said this week that the province’s Crown prosecutor’s office did not take part in the secret trial.

The trial’s existence only became public because the police informant accused in the case appealed his or her conviction, and the appeals court issued a heavily redacted ruling critical of the lower court proceedings.

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The initial case had no official docket number. The nature of the alleged crime and the location where it occurred were kept secret, as was the police force involved. The names of the lawyers and judges who participated in the case were also not disclosed.

The case involves a police informant who was convicted of participating in a crime that he or she had initially revealed to police. The informant claimed he or she was a victim of an abuse of process, but the lower court judge disagreed.

The Appeal Court panel, however, sided with the informant and stayed the conviction and the legal proceedings, noting in its ruling the initial trial was “contrary to the fundamental principles that govern our justice system.”

Its ruling noted that witnesses in the case were questioned outside the courtroom and that “no trace of this trial exists, other than in the minds of the individuals implicated.”

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Canada’s prosecution service said it was “unable to comment further, given that the (Quebec) Court of Appeal has redacted the reasons for its decision.”

Federal Justice Minister David Lametti said reports about the Quebec trial were deeply concerning. In an emailed statement on Wednesday evening, Lametti said the principles of open court “are a bedrock principle of Canada’s justice system. Justice must be seen to be done.”

He added he was relieved the Quebec Court of Appeal was able to shed light on the case, noting “an independent judiciary is critical to a healthy democracy.”

Lametti said he could not comment further because of existing court orders.

Jolin-Barrette told the legislature on Thursday that he had discussions with leadership of the Quebec court and Quebec Superior Court, and there was agreement cases should not take place under such secrecy.

Jolin-Barrette said he has asked prosecutors to file a motion with the Court of Appeal to request that information in the case be made public, such as the identity of the judge and lawyers involved and the orders delivered.

He said he would refrain from commenting further as the case could still be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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