A journalist won't have to hand over notes from his interviews with accused murderer Robert Baltovich for the man's second trial this fall.

A judge denied a request by the Crown on Thursday for access to Derek Finkle's notes on Baltovich, who will be re-tried for the 1990 murder of Elizabeth Bain.

Baltovich was convicted in 1992 of the second-degree murder of 22-year-old Bain, who vanished in east-end Toronto.

While writing "No Claim to Mercy", a book casting doubt on the conviction, Finkle interviewed Baltovich for more than 50 hours and had access to his prison memoirs.

The Crown wanted access to the material and issued a subpoena to get it, but the author fought back claiming it violated his rights as a journalist.

Justice David Watt agreed, comparing the subpoena to a fishing expedition.

"The subpoena amounts to a fishing license -- fishing season is closed, the subpoena is quashed," the judge said.

Finkle said the judge saw through the Crown's desperate attempt to gather anything for evidence in a highly circumstantial case.

"They had no interest in me as a witness, they just wanted to look at my stuff to see if there was anything good there," Finkle said.

"Frankly, they don't have a great case -- it was an act of desperation and I think the judge really saw that."

Police have never found Bain's body. Baltovich, the woman's on-and-off boyfriend, spent eight years in prison before a court of appeal threw out the original verdict and ordered a new trial.

Prominent journalist organizations said forcing Finkle to turn over his notes and recordings would have cast a pall over all reporters and the work they do.

With a report from CTV's Chris Eby