Search warrants released in breach of Nova Scotia freedom-of-information website

Search warrants say a Nova Scotia civil servant told police somebody had "hacked" into the province's freedom-of-information website in a case investigators eventually dropped because there were no grounds to lay criminal charges.

The warrants were provided by the courts after an application by the Halifax Examiner.

They alleged that the teenager, whose identity is edited out, "used a software that penetrated the system an extensive number of times" in early March.

However, the young man's lawyer, David Fraser, has said the young man only used simple software that is widely available to collect documents he thought were public information.

Fraser has said the youth never intended to scoop up people's personal files or social insurance numbers, and this was due to a lack of proper security safeguards on the website.

Police initially arrested the young man after searching his home, but three weeks later issued a news release to indicate "the 19-year-old who was arrested on April 11 did not have intent to commit a criminal offence."

Halifax police said the youth was arrested under a rarely used section of the Criminal Code that prohibits the unauthorized use of a computer with fraudulent intent.

They dropped that process last week, and opposition parties have asked the government to apologize for the way the premier suggested the youth stole the information.

Premier Stephen McNeil did not offer an apology when asked last week if he'd do so, saying his government took appropriate steps.