Young offenders handed an adult sentence for serious crimes not only lose the right to remain anonymous; they should expect pre-sentence and psychological reports filed with the courts to be made public. That’s the finding of a Nova Scotia youth court judge who in May 2006 ordered the release of exhibits tendered at the sentencing hearing of a 17-year-old joyrider who killed a Halifax woman while fleeing police in a stolen car. By Dean Jobb.
Continue Reading N.S. judge opens youth court records
The Canadian Association of Journalists opposes the Edmonton Police Service’s attempt to seize a reporter’s research into a high-profile murder case. “Journalists are not agents of the state, and police should not be depending on them to provide the information needed for criminal investigations,” CAJ president Paul Schneidereit says in a press release.
Continue Reading CAJ slams attempt to seize reporter’s research
A Toronto Star editorial backs proposals to improve media access to the Ontario courts. Journalists could be allowed to use tape recorders to take notes in the courtroom, and the Internet may be used to notify media outlets of motions to ban publication of evidence. Television cameras may even be permitted to record some hearings.
Continue Reading Open justice is best
Britain’s House of Lords has ruled that publishing or broadcasting a report on a matter of intense public interest or importance is not defamatory, even if the story turns out to be false, if the media organization adhered to the standards of “responsible journalism.” The October 2006 ruling expands the scope of the defence of qualified privilege and is being hailed as a major victory for investigative journalism. While Canadian courts are not bound to follow the precedent, the ruling should have an impact on defamation law in Canada. Toronto media law specialist Peter Downard analyzes the ruling in the October 2006 Defamation Bulletin. Read the judgment.
Continue Reading British ruling shields ‘responsible journalism’
In an editorial, the Toronto Star explains why it joined forces with major Canadian and American news organizations in June 2006 to challenge a publication ban on the bail hearings of 17 people accused of plotting terror attacks in Canada.It’s time, the paper argues, to rethink routine bans that shroud the evidence heard at pre-trial hearings, particularly when a case deals with allegations of national and international importance.
Judgerejects application by Toronto Star, CBC and New York Times to lift ban. See the CBC Online story.
Continue Reading Terror case publication ban should be lifted
In Canada, you’re innocent until proven guilty. You wouldn’t know it from reading some of Christie Blatchford’s columns on high-profile trials. Mike Drach of the Ryerson Review of Journalism explains how one journalist has pushed the limits of the law of contempt of court.
Continue Reading Trial by journalist
In the wake of allegations against investigative reporter Stevie Cameron, journalists find themselves wondering where they stand on giving the police information. As Sam Mednick writes in the King’s Journalism Review, a former Halifax reporter says a meeting with the military police caused him more problems than he could have ever foreseen.
Continue Reading When the police come calling
The Internet’s immediacy and global reach means reputations can be ruined with the click of a mouse. The courts have just begun to grapple with allegations of defamation on the Internet, but it’s clear publishers and writers risk being sued in faraway countries. And each “hit” to access archived material could be considered re-publication of a libel, extending the risk of a lawsuit far into the future. By David Crerar.
Continue Reading Internet libel threat transcends time, space