Judge orders Crown to speed access to info on Toronto gang raids

A Toronto judge has ordered the Crown to hasten work to unseal information used to obtain search warrants, which may offer clues into whether Mayor Rob Ford has a connection to members of an alleged criminal organization.

Media lawyers have asked the court to unseal the material tied to 43 recent arrests of members of the Dixon City Bloods and others with alleged ties to the gang targeted in the “Project Traveller” investigation.

They argued it is in the public interest to reveal whether police have found any evidence connecting the gang to Ford.

The agony of Rob Ford: view our interactive

Judge Phil Downes this afternoon ruled that the Crown is unjustified and unreasonable asking to keep the material sealed for at least another six months, and has given prosecutors until the end of August to redact portions of the documents.

The judge says lawyers for the media will then be allowed to read them and then to argue further on whether the public can be shown any of the material.

Media lawyers argue that a number of people arrested, and one of the homes that was slated to be searched in the June raids, appear in a now infamous photo with the mayor, and may suggest Ford had more than a passing relationship with them.

Ford has always maintained that he gets his photo taken with all manner of people that he encounters.

The Project Traveller raids came weeks after reports emerged that Ford had been allegedly caught on video smoking a crack pipe. The mayor has denied the allegations and said the video does not exist.

An online fundraising campaign by the U.S. gossip website Gawker raised $200,000, but failed in a bid to buy the alleged video. It’s never been made public and CBC News has not seen it and cannot verify whether it even exists.