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The Murder of Lindsay Buziak

Capital Daily denied access to Saanich Police unredacted files.

REDACTED: Confidential information which is blacked out so you can’t see or read it.

Redacted police files is any pieces of information that should not be passed to the defense or made public. This would include addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, names of confidential informants etc.

As a general rule court proceedings are public. The public must have the ability to scrutinize the justice system as that enhances public confidence in it, maintains judicial impartiality and independence and ensure that the rule of law is obeyed. Exceptions to principle of court openness take the form of publications bans, sealing orders, in-camera hearings and anonymity orders.

The Saanich Police and the Crown opposed the granting access to unredacted materials to the applicant “The Capital News”. The reasons were:

It could compromise the identity of a confidential informant.

It could compromise the nature and extent of an on-going investigation.

Endanger a person engaged in particular intelligence gathering techniques and thereby prejudice further investigations in which similar techniques would be used.

Prejudice the interest of an innocent person and

for any other sufficient reason.

The Saanich Police and Crown are doing everything they can to protect the integrity of the INVESTIGATION

I do not believe there is any hidden agenda on their part. Their main goal is to ensure that no sensitive information is leaked to the wrong parties – because if that were to happen it could jeopardize the prosecutors case at trial. Not only that, if the name of a confidential informant was leaked to a member of the public or to a defense lawyer representing the accused in the said case this could guarantee that the case was never prosecuted.

It would not be the first time that an informant was killed because his/her name got into wrong hands. (i.e. Shane Wilson)? And what about the risk to a police officer who may have been working undercover all this time? Lives should not be put at risk just to appease the media and if further applications are filed by the Capital News let’s hope the judge takes all of this into consideration.

Lindsay Buziak’s murder is currently an active ongoing investigation with the Saanich Police, RCMP, Homeland Security and the FBI all onboard. There is no police corruption, no collusion, no cover-ups, just a dedicated team of investigators who want nothing more than to see this heinous crime solved once and for all. Yes, 13 years is a long time to wait for justice but there are hundreds of murders in BC that have never been solved and probably never will be. The fact that Lindsay’s case is still active is a blessing.

This case has been kept alive by the actions of Lindsay’s father who has fought hard to make this happen, and while I may not agree with his unorthodox methods there is no denying – what with the media’s support Jeff Buziak has managed to keep this case in the forefront of everyone’s mind for 13 years. Now I think it is time we all sat back, let the police do their job, feeling confident that they will make arrests sometime in the very near future.

On March 17, 2021, Justice Robert Punnett of the BC Supreme Court dismissed a motion by Capital Daily to grant its legal team access to unredacted court documents relating to the Saanich Police Department’s (SPD) investigation into the 2008 unsolved murder of realtor Lindsay Buziak. The Judge ruled that the substantive Application should be resolved and only then, if ordered, any Seal Material released.

There were a variety of reasons why Justice Punnett dismissed this motion.

The status of individuals may change over the course of an investigation. A person who initially appears to be a suspect may be cleared at a later date. A person who appears to be a witness may become a target. A target may become a cooperating witness. A witness or target could later become a confidential informant or agent. Disclosing information that could identify a person, even on undertakings, increases the circle and potential for inadvertent disclosure. It may even foreclose the later change in status of a person to confidential informant, agent or protected witness if the information is later unsealed and/or published. The privacy interest of witness and third parties which implicate liberty and security rights must be safely guarded.

The “mosaic effect” is a situation where “a person reading a collection of vetted materials may be able to piece together what may appear to be innocuous or unrelated bits of information from multiple sources to identify the informer or narrow the pool of individuals who could be an informer”: R v. McKay, 2016 BCCA 391 at paras. 20, 155.

2021 BCSC 479 Capital City News Group Ltd. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia (bccourts.ca)

I have read the court transcripts carefully and from what I can see this does not appear to be a final order. The judge’s decision was made on an interim application, not the hearing on the merits of the request for release of the sealed materials. It sounds like the Capital Daily just wanted some kind of interim access. The judge made it clear that the substantive Application should be resolved. It sounds like the Capital News will have to wait for a final order and if the judge does not rule in their favor they will have to make the decision whether to file an appeal or to walk away.

The Capital News and Investigative Journalist Zander Sherman has done their due diligence in their efforts to obtain unredacted police documents.

The financial costs to the applicant (Capital News) has to be huge, and that begs the question – being the Capital News have only been around for a relatively short time how can they afford to continue fighting this battle in the courts. Do they have a financial backer who has taken a serious interest in this case for some unknown reason? While it may appear to us that things are happening at a glacial speed this is not the case. The job of an investigative journalist can be challenging and so much of their time is spent waiting for answers. Once an applicant has filed documents in the courts, the standard wait time is 3 months, but now COVID has put a wrench into the judicial system. The courts are overwhelmed, short-staffed so the wait time now is closer to 6 months.

Why is the Capital News so determined to get old information that has likely changed in recent years – wouldn’t it be more advantageous to seek out current information? Journalists who file access to information and privacy requests (ATIP) are hoping to obtain unredacted documents where they might be lucky enough to get that one useful gold nugget in that pile of papers they get their hands on. If they can do that they will be able to give a voice to the people without power and be able to hold those who have the power accountable.

It is well known Zander Sherman’s modus operandi is to obtain old police files in an attempt to revitalize a case, and there is no question that some of his stories support that he has been very successful in doing so. In this instance however Zander’s motives may be twofold – he may have obtained some sensitive information that he needs to verify and/or he is hoping to motivate the police into making some arrests.

A FINAL RULING BY THE JUDGE If the Judge rules in favor of Capital News then we may see another story by Zander Sherman in the coming months. But if their application for further unredacted documents is denied then we may be waiting a very long time. The question is, if the Capital News application is denied will they put out another pile of money to once again go up against the Saanich Police and Crown in the Supreme Courts?

EMAIL ADDRESS: murderondesousa@gmail.com

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