Trial of Byron Sonne, security researcher jailed for publicizing flaws in Toronto G20 security

Back in May, I linked to the perverse tale of Byron Sonne, a Toronto hacker and security researcher who was caught up in the G20 dragnet, part of the overall campaign of illegal harassment, arrest and violence against protesters in the city.

Sonne's trial is underway now, and Denise Balkissoon is covering it in depth for Balkissoon's coverage cuts through the legal complexities and tedium and gets right to the point, and is as good as courtroom reporting gets.

This week, the Crown conceded that Toronto Police used a ruse in order to get Byron Sonne to hand over his ID on June 15, 2010. Sonne—otherwise known as the G20 Hacker, or the Anarchist of Forest Hill—had been filming the $9.4 million security fence that went up before the international summit. A security guard called the police, and three officers stopped Sonne as he walked along Temperance St.

One asked for his identification. Sonne refused, stating that he knew it was his right not to identify himself unless he was being detained for a specific crime. So, bicycle officer Michael Wong told Sonne that he was being investigated for jaywalking under the Highway Traffic Act. “This was simply a ruse employed to obtain the Applicant’s identification,” reads the statement of fact submitted by the Crown Attorney. “It worked.”

In Sonne’s preliminary trial last winter, all three officers agreed that none of them had actually seen him cross the street illegally. On November 10, Superior Court Justice Nancy Spies decided this ruse meant Sonne was unlawfully detained, and that his rights were violated under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Next week, Judge Spies will decide if the Toronto Police also violated his rights when searching his home, seizing his possessions, or questioning him for 12 hours without access to a lawyer. Then begins his trial for possessing explosive materials and “counseling the indictable offense of mischief not committed.” I’ll explain that one to you when the trial gets started.

The ruse that violated Byron Sonne's rights


    1. It’s another one of our Canadian Thought Crime laws.  It’s illegal to make people think bad thoughts even if they don’t do anything about them.

      1. Can the police be charged with mischief not committed, if they were to conspire to purpotrate a ruse upon a citizen? Surely only one of them violated his rights, but as certainly, the other two did “not commit” the very same act but conspired to violate his rights.

  1. So, if I read this right, ultimately they seized his possessions for a “jaywalking” offense that never occurred?  Am I reading this correctly?  Also,  is he in fact an anarchist?  Seems like the whole issue of photographing the fence is entirely lost in the proceedings. 

  2. From the story–it sounds like almost all evidence is either currently inadmissible or will be shortly? 
    What are Canada’s civil torts against police/government for violations of rights?  Are they as strong as in the US?  If so, this seems like an open and shut multimillion dollar settlement for what they’ve done to him–not just the acts but the fallout from it too. 
    If I were the Toronto police, I’d be shitting bricks faster than Oakland’s PD is right now.

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