The chief administrative officer of the Niagara Region issued a public apology for the inconvenience caused to a journalist by the seizure of his computer and notes during Thursday night's council meeting.
However, Carmen D'Angelo would not say the region made a mistake in taking the equipment from St. Catharines Standard reporter Bill Sawchuk, nor could he explain why he thought he had the legal power to make the seizure.
Sawchuk's equipment was confiscated by regional staff, who answer to D'Angelo, during a closed-door session of regional council. Regional clerk Frank Fabiano told Sawchuk that "someone" had accused the reporter of secretly recording the in-camera meeting.
Sawchuk was in the lobby of regional headquarters at the time, and his computer was on the media table inside the council chambers. He told Fabiano he was not recording the closed the session of council, but the computer and later his notes were taken anyway.
In a more than 30-minute-long interview with The Standard Friday, D'Angelo was asked 17 times what legislation grants the municipality the authority to take a reporter's notes and devices.
He did not answer the question once.
Full Hamilton Spectator story
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