A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled that Montreal police cannot have access to university research involving Luka Magnotta who stands trial this fall in the murder and dismemberment of Concordia student Jun Lin.
A 2007 interview with Luka Magnotta was included in the sex work research by University of Ottawa professors.
In her 37-page ruling rendered yesterday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Sophie Bourque said they have to make case-by-case decisions and concluded that in this case, the benefits of researcher-participant privilege outweighed those argued by lawyers for Montreal police.
Bourque ruled that the video interviews would be of minimal use for investigators who said it would help them if Magnotta used the defence of non-criminal responsibility by reason of mental disorder.
"She looked at the minimal assistance this would give to the police investigation versus the very substantial intrusion that this would have been on the research participant's privacy," Jacobsen told CJAD 800 News.
Jacobsen said he likens the relationship between researchers and participants to that of reporters and their confidential sources. He said the ruling sets a precedent.
"It's absolutely essential in circumstances where participants would not be inclined to give frank and honest answers if they thought their confidentiality was going to be breached," Jaconbsen said.
"It gives those participants the assurance that the academic community will go to bat for them and that's very important."