Chris Burkett
Chris Burkett, Litigator

The victim in a sex trafficking case won’t have to worry about her personal medical records being used against her during trial after a recent win by Baker McKenzie.

The case arose from our pro bono partnership with Covenant House, Canada’s largest homeless youth shelter.

“The accused’s lawyer brought an application to the court seeking access to this young woman’s medical records, including records held by her psychiatrist and family physician,” said litigator Chris Burkett. “Counsel subpoenaed her records and they were provided to the court under seal. Covenant House then reached out to us to act on behalf of the victim.”

Chris argued that the medical records had no relevance in the case and that revealing them would be a significant breach of the victim’s privacy rights.

The Honourable Robert F. Goldstein agreed and concluded in his decision: “There is simply no basis upon which these records ought to be produced…the application is dismissed.”

Chris says the case will now go to trial without the defence counsel having the benefit of being able to dig through the victim’s confidential records.

“With any of us, if you could look through all of our intimate conversations with our doctors or healthcare professionals there’d be something in there you could use to discredit us, so this was a big win and gives the prosecution a better chance at a successful prosecution,” he said.

The case began with jury selection in Superior Court on Monday, March 27. It is one of many the Firm is involved with as it continues the fight against human trafficking and forced labour, lead by Managing Partner Kevin Coon who sits on the board of Covenant House. Check back soon for more stories on how we are battling this ongoing issue in Canada and beyond.