Federal prosecutors will ask on Tuesday that criminal charges be stayed against several accused arrested in connection with Projet Clemenza, a series of police operations spanning two years and targeting the Montreal mafia.
The number of those who will see charges essentially dropped by the Crown varied with different news reports on Monday. Their lawyers had been advised on the Crown’s decision on Friday.
However reports say the stay of proceedings will effect those who had been charged with drug production, trafficking and importation, weapons possession, arson and kidnapping. They were arrested during Projet Clemenza, one of the biggest anti-Mafia operations ever launched by the RCMP.
Reports say the decision to ask for a stay of proceedings is based on the manner in which some of the evidence was gathered against the accused. Much of that evidence was based on millions of text messages exchanged between the accused and intercepted by police, a technique that had been vigorously challenged by defence lawyers.
According to La Presse, the decision to seek a stay may also have been due in part to the Supreme Court’s Jordan ruling, which limits the amount of time a case can take to get to trial.
Federal prosecutors would have a year to re-file charges.