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Judge rules some Sandro Lisi search warrants should be made public

Above: An Ontario judge ruled Wednesday that some of the Sandro Lisi search warrants could be made public. Jackson Proskow reports.

TORONTO –Some of the information police used to obtain search warrants in connection with Alexander “Sandro” Lisi’s arrest will be made public, an Ontario judge has ruled.

Justice Ian Nordheimer made the ruling after media organizations, including Global News, argued the information should be released because it was in the public’s interest. Lisi is a friend of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who wrote a character reference for Lisi on city letterhead when Lisi was facing criminal charges this past summer.

The judge ruled Wednesday that some non-confidential documents included in the information to obtain will be made public. Some of the documents could be released as early as Thursday.

Informations to obtain (ITOs) are affidavits police file to justify a search warrant from a judge. Police filed more than 400 pages in their ITO seeking a search warrant in Lisi’s case.

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“The public’s got a right to look at all the material that has been filed in the ITO,” media lawyer Peter Jacobsen said outside of a Toronto courtroom Wednesday. “The public has a right to comment on the nature of the ITO and perhaps why it was so inclusive.”

The crown lawyers have suggested only the information deemed “necessary” to police’s prosecution of Lisi should be made public and all the other information should remain confidential. But Jacobsen argues that raises the question of why so much “unnecessary” material was included in the first place.

Video: Media lawyer Peter Jacobsen discusses the judge’s ruling to release some of the documents.
“Why would all of this so-called extraneous material be put into an ITO if it’s not necessary?” Jacobsen said.
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Jacobsen said all the information in the ITO, with the exception of information regarding confidential informants and other more routine redactions, should be made public.

“It is all read by the issuing judge and as Justice Nordheimer commented in court today, if it’s all put before the judge, it should all be made public. And we say that’s all part of the transparency issue.”

Lisi was arrested earlier in October and charged with several drug-related offences including trafficking and possession.

Lisi is considered a friend and occasional driver of Mayor Rob Ford, who has repeatedly called Lisi a “good guy.”

“I don’t throw my friends under the bus,” Ford said after Lisi’s arrest. “Like I said, he’s straight and narrow, I’ve never once seen him drink, I’ve never seen him do drugs.”

Jacobsen will be back in court on Friday to argue that documents pertaining to Project Traveller – a large raid on a Dixon Road street gang in north Etobicoke – should be made public.