A group of 14 lawyers is calling for a public inquiry into police spying on journalists and media outlets.

Lawyers assembled by the Juripop Legal Clinic wrote in an open letter about the police surveillance of La Presse columnist and CJAD 800 contributor Patrick Lagacé, who was targeted by 24 warrants issued by a justice of the peace. They called it a serious infringement of constitutional rights and a dangerous precedent for a just society.

They are questioning the process that led the justice of the peace to issue these warrants. They feel the judiciary has been used frequently against press freedom and for some time. 

They referred to the search of Journal de Montreal journalist Michael Nguyen; tailing Joël-Denis Bellavance of La Presse, which had been authorized, and the search of Journal of Montreal reporter Eric-Yvan Lemay’s home.

The signatories thus believe that the ministers of justice and of public safety must order an investigation to review the laws, and specify the rules for the issuance of warrants and review the appointment process for justices of the peace, their training and remuneration.

Signatories to the letter included Marc-Antoine Cloutier, head of the Juripop Legal Clinic, as well as lawyers Julius Grey and Daniel Turp.