Police had no rules for investigations involving reporters, inquiry hears

An inquiry into police surveillance of journalists in Quebec has heard police had no protocols regarding investigations involving reporters before the controversial practice of spying on them became publicized.

Provincial police director Martin Prud'homme testified that police take great care when they have to share information with the Public Security Department.

But top provincial police brass said there were no rules in place before Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux asked for the procedures to be tightened last fall.

That demand came in the wake of reports that investigators had sought and received call logs from reporters' smartphones in attempts to determine who they were speaking with.

The inquiry, led by Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Jacques Chamberland, will hear testimony from actors on all sides including law enforcement, media and the courts before reporting back to the government with recommendations by March 1st, 2018.

It has already heard that word of warrants to collect data from the smartphones of several prominent journalists created a chilling effect on newsrooms and sent sources into a panic.