A police officer forged a warrant with a judge’s signature without his knowledge

A Montreal police officer committed a “deeply inappropriate” act by unwittingly using a judge’s stamp and signature to fabricate a false court document used during an investigation of a murderer.

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Here’s what our Bureau of Investigation learned in a judgment by Supreme Court Justice Marc David in the case of Frédérick Silva, an organized crime salaried killer who was sentenced to life in prison last February for three murders committed in 2018.

The decision, taken before the start of Silva’s trial last summer, was subject to a publication ban, which was lifted on Friday at the Montreal courthouse.

Without concluding that such police procedure was illegal, Judge David denounced the “outrageous” behavior and “lack of ethics” shown by Montreal City Officer Guillaume Joly-Tessier (SPVM) in this investigation.

Frederick Silva.

A first for the SPVM

Frédérick Silva was considered one of the 10 most wanted criminals in Quebec and his arrest had been brought to the top of the SPVM’s priorities, as our investigative agency had first reported in the winter of 2019.

According to the court, the SPVM has pulled out all the stops to find the fugitive suspect, using an unprecedented investigative technique in its history.

The police used a false court order (or warrant) to compel a witness to cooperate with their investigation. And this in all legality according to Judge David.

On February 15, 2019, Agent Joly-Tessier went to the Montreal courthouse to have this false warrant signed by a justice of the peace.

However, after reviewing the documents submitted by the agent, Justice of the Peace Josée De Carufel refused to sign the false warrant and advised him to follow another procedure.

According to the court, the officer made a “hasty” gesture here.

“At one point during the meeting, the judge left her office. Agent Joly-Tessier then takes the judicial stamp of the judge from his desk and stamps the false judicial authorization,” explains Judge David.

Frederick Silva.

Photo courtesy of the Court

“Do it yourself”

After leaving the courthouse, the police officer completed the fabrication of his false warrant by continuing with what he called “tinkering.”

“To do this, he cuts the judge’s signature from another judicial authorization he had in his possession. He then signs the authorization to which he has affixed the judge’s stamp. Finally, he adds an invented mandate number in the appropriate place and makes a photocopy of the document so that it looks credible,” the judge continues.

The defense, provided by Danièle Roy, called for the proceedings against Silva to be suspended, arguing that various means used by the police to arrest his client were abusive, including the behavior of Officer Joly-Tessier. But without success.

“The applicant argues that the use of the stamp of the justice of the peace by agent Joly-Tessier constitutes theft. But even if this premise is accepted, the court finds that Agent Joly-Tessier’s action cannot be qualified as a process of abuse in the specific context of this case,” concluded Judge David, who dismissed the motion.

He considered that, “without prejudice to the reprehensible nature of Agent Joly-Tessier’s gesture”, the latter “was not imbued with malicious intent (…) when he stole the Justice of the Peace stamp without his knowledge.

On the one hand, the magistrate admits that it is “worrying” that “the police derives the authority of a judge” in such a way. But on the other hand, he believes it was justified as a means of inquiry.

“The crimes that are the object” [de cette] investigations are the most serious in the Criminal Code, he argued. They engage continuously while the applicant is on the run and in conditions that endanger public safety. The making and use of a ‘false’ document (…) is thus an act proportionate to the crimes under investigation.”

Worrying but allowed

When carrying out certain investigative means, the police may be authorized to perform certain acts that would otherwise be punishable.

This procedure, which is relatively unknown to the public, is governed by Section 25.1 of the Criminal Code, which has been in effect in Canada since 2002 following the passage of Bill C-24.

The police call this detection technique a “C-24”.

It can be authorized directly by the personnel of a police force, without going through the courts.

In total, between 2003 and 2020, the leaders of Quebec’s police forces issued 387 authorizations to commit a “C-24”, according to data obtained by our research agency of the Ministry of Public Security.

However, Judge David took advantage of his decision to require Ottawa to change the Criminal Code so that using a false court order as a technique of police investigation is “mandatory”, pre-approved by a judge, which is not the case. at Gift.

According to him, “the fact that such an exceptional investigative technique is subject to the sole discretion of a senior official, in this case a senior member of the police force, is a matter of concern”.

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