Hearing underway on request from Dawn Walker’s lawyers for records they argue prove Charter violations

Rob O’Flanagan/Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Dawn Walker was in Provincial Court in Saskatoon on July 13 for what was described by lawyers as a records proceeding. Walker is accused of child abduction and other charges. A trial is scheduled for November-December.

Thia James

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

A hearing at Saskatoon provincial court began on Thursday to determine whether an application will be allowed from lawyers for Dawn Walker, a Saskatchewan woman accused of kidnapping a child and fleeing to the U.S., to obtain records they say will support their argument charges against her should be stayed.

The hearing is centred on an application filed to the court on March 24, which seeks documents from third parties, including the Saskatoon Police Service, RCMP and Government of Saskatchewan.

Walker’s defence counsel had said in its application the records would help show Walker’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated enough to warrant a stay of proceedings. A stay essentially means a charge is withdrawn unless new evidence is brought forward within a year.

On Thursday, Walker and her legal counsel, lawyers for the third parties from whom records are sought, and Crown prosecutors were present. As previously reported, the StarPhoenix obtained the March 24 application, which the court has ordered sealed.

Walker, 49, was initially charged with parental abduction in contravention of a custody order and public mischief by Saskatoon police soon after her arrest last summer.

After further investigation, she was charged with unlawfully procuring identity documents, forging a passport, providing a false statement in relation to a passport, possession of a forged passport, possession of forged documents, identity theft and identity fraud.

Last summer, Walker and a child were the focus of a two-week search that ended Aug. 5 when both were found safe in Oregon City, Ore. The child returned with a legal guardian to Saskatoon on Aug. 7.

Publication bans limit what can be reported in this case. In November, a provincial court judge clarified that publication bans pertain to any information that could identify two children related to the charges against Walker.

Her name can be reported, as well as the fact that one of the minors is her child, “providing they are not otherwise publishing any information that could identify the victims.”

None of the allegations have been tested in court. Walker has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A five-week trial has been scheduled to take place between Nov. 20 and Jan. 12, 2024 at Saskatoon provincial court.

Walker is currently free on bail and is subject to conditions including electronic monitoring. A publication ban is also in effect on evidence presented at the bail hearing and the judge’s reasoning for the decision.

She also faces charges in the U.S. of aggravated identity theft, a felony, and identity theft, a misdemeanour. She was returned to Canada after a U.S. District Court in Oregon consented to her release to Canadian law enforcement. The U.S. proceedings are on hold.

Judge Bruce Bauer imposed an interim publication ban and sealing order relating to an affidavit filed to the court in this application.

The next scheduled court date related to the application is July 24.