Telus won't get break on criminal charges
By KATHERINE HARDING
Criminal charges alleging that Telus Corp. ignored a court order are
going ahead, despite the telecommunications company's recent assertion
that the matter is a misunderstanding.
"It's in the public interest to proceed with charges," prosecutor
Clifton Purvis said yesterday. "It's not like we are on a crusade
against Telus. Once the criminal process is evoked ... it's been
Telus landed into trouble last month after it allegedly failed to
produce cellphone records requested by the RCMP.
The company has since given the RCMP the information, but nearly five
months after police first asked for them, 17 days after it received a
court summons and three days after it first appeared in court. Telus
and the RCMP have said they are not aware of any other case in which a
company has been accused of failing to supply information.
Canadian telecommunications companies get thousands of requests every
year from police forces for telephone records. The queries are so
common, a standard fee schedule has been established.
In this particular case, the RCMP were requesting information that
relates to Project Kare, one of the highest-profile criminal
investigations in Alberta's history.
The task force is hunting for the killer, or killers, of more than a
dozen Edmonton prostitutes. Many of the bodies have been dumped in
fields surrounding the city.
The RCMP aren't saying what information they are looking for by
requesting the cellphone records, but Telus has said investigators
want archived records from cell towers in and around Edmonton.
Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson declined comment about the matter
yesterday because it is before the courts. However, last month, he
said the company's failure to provide the information swiftly was
because of a "misunderstanding and miscommunication."
Telus's next court date is Feb. 7.
With files from reporter Patrick Brethour
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