POLITICS

Navy intelligence officer accused of espionage elects judge and jury trial

07/17/2012 04:30 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT
HALIFAX - A Halifax navy intelligence officer accused of espionage has elected to be tried by a judge and jury in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

A lawyer for Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle was in provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday to make the election for his client, who faces two charges of passing information to a foreign entity that could harm Canada's interests.

Mike Taylor said he and the Crown were trying to come up with dates for a three-day preliminary inquiry, which might not take place until late this fall or early 2013.

Taylor said a trial may not take place until next fall, adding that it's not clear how long a trial in the rare case could last.

"I wouldn't expect it would be in the spring sitting," he said. "It could very easily be in the fall of 2013."

Delisle was denied bail in March and has been in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax since his arrest in January.

The 41-year-old has yet to enter a plea, and lawyers in the case are expected to return to provincial court Wednesday to set dates for a preliminary hearing.

Court documents say one of the alleged offences happened between July 6, 2007, and Jan. 13, 2012, while the other offence is alleged to have happened between Jan. 10 and Jan. 13 of this year.

A broad publication ban has been imposed on the hearings. Taylor said the Crown could apply for another ban in Supreme Court. Much of the evidence he has received has been redacted, but he said some has been cleared for release to him as the case has proceeded.

Taylor said he expects there could be at least a couple of dozen witnesses testifying if it goes to trial.

Delisle also faces a breach of trust charge under the Criminal Code that is alleged to have happened between July 6, 2007, and Jan. 13, 2012.

All the offences are alleged to have happened in or near Halifax, Ottawa and Kingston, Ont.

Delisle joined the navy as a reservist in 1996, became a member of the regular forces in 2001 and was promoted to an officer rank in 2008.

He was charged under a section of the Security of Information Act that was passed by the House of Commons after the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.