MONTREAL — A Quebec judge has ruled that the estranged wife of ex-Parti Quebecois leader Pierre Karl Peladeau must be given the identity of those who ordered her surveillance by Saturday.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Paul Mayer also ruled late Thursday that the surveillance of Julie Snyder by private security firm Garda must stop immediately for a period of 10 days.
Snyder's lawyers told the court their client has suffered from stress and has been fearful for her safety and that of her children since June 26.
On that date, an airline employee told Snyder that a man in a black hat was inquiring about her at Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport. It was later determined to be a private investigator.
She took legal action against the private investigator and his employer, Garda, in an attempt to unveil the identity of the person behind the surveillance.
Mayer agreed with Snyder's lawyers that the matter was urgent and that her right to privacy had been violated.
The security firm has 48 hours to divulge the identity of John Doe — the name or names of anyone who ordered the surveillance.
"Mrs. Snyder has a right: that this daily psychological distress ceases," Mayer said.
Snyder's lawyer, Mathieu Piche-Messier, called the surveillance a serious violation of her right to privacy and said it's still unclear why the information is being gathered.
"You've seen as I have, this is everywhere in the media," Piche-Messier told the court. "How is it that John Doe hasn't shown up? ... If they have nothing to hide, we'd have someone here saying what their reasons are (for the tailing)."
In short, without the man's identity, Piche-Messier said Snyder could not ensure an end to the surveillance.
Lawyers for Garda had argued the case was not as urgent as Snyder made it out to be and the case was not exceptional enough to violate the confidentiality of the company's clients.
The security firm's lawyer said they would study Mayer's judgment and evaluate whether to appeal.
Snyder was not present for the proceedings this week, but Piche-Messier said she's pleased with Thursday's ruling and added they'll decide what to do about John Doe once they have a name.
Mayer's ruling came after attempts at brokering an out-of-court agreement failed.
The case has yet to be argued on its merits.
Snyder and Peladeau are in divorce proceedings after announcing in January their relationship was over. They married last August.
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