2nd Calgary lawyer charged in Manitoba judge surveillance case

Two Calgary lawyers with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), Jay Cameron, left, and president John Carpay, right, face charges connected to the surveillance of Manitoba's Court of King's Bench Chief Justice.  (JCCF.ca - image credit)
Two Calgary lawyers with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), Jay Cameron, left, and president John Carpay, right, face charges connected to the surveillance of Manitoba's Court of King's Bench Chief Justice. (JCCF.ca - image credit)

A second Calgary lawyer connected to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was arrested and charged in connection with the surveillance of a Manitoba judge, Winnipeg police confirmed Thursday.

Jay Cameron, 45, was arrested by the Calgary Police Service on Wednesday after a Canada-wide warrant was issued by the Manitoba Prosecution Service.

Cameron — whose legal given name is Randal — was charged with intimidation of a justice system participant and attempt to obstruct justice connected to the hiring of a private investigator in 2021 to follow Manitoba Court of King's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.

The same set of charges were laid against JCCF founder and president John Carpay last week.

In July, when Carpay admitted to hiring a PI to surveil the judge, Cameron said he had "become aware" of the surveillance only a "few weeks" earlier and issued an apology to the judge.

But Thursday's announcement of charges against Cameron allege he was involved in orchestrating the surveillance.

Gary Solilak/CBC
Gary Solilak/CBC

Both Cameron and Carpay represented a number of churches across Canada fighting COVID-19 restrictions in court.

In 2021, Justice Joyal presided over a case involving seven churches that were challenging the province's pandemic-related restrictions.

Joyal ruled against the churches, saying public health orders did not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Details of the surveillance and the subsequent admission by JCCF's president came to light during a hearing in July connected to the churches' charter challenge. Joyal said he was tailed by a private investigator in an attempt to catch him breaking COVID-19 rules

Joyal said the private investigator followed him to his home and had a child ring his doorbell while he wasn't home in an attempt to confirm where he lives. The private investigator also followed him to his cottage, according to Joyal.

Following a break in court, Carpay admitted the JCCF had retained the private investigator to follow Joyal as part of efforts to hold government officials accountable.

At the time, Joyal said he accepted both Carpay and Cameron's apologies.

Cameron no longer on JCCF website

Two days later, Carpay announced he was taking an indefinite leave from the JCCF. Six weeks later, he was reinstated as president.

Through much of the pandemic, Cameron was an in-house lawyer with JCCF but is no longer listed on the organization's website.

An internet archive site shows Cameron was with the JCCF until at least September 2022 but was gone by November 2022.

Cameron has been released on bail. Winnipeg police say they don't anticipate any more arrests.

CBC News has asked JCCF when and why Cameron left the organization but has not yet received a response.