Law

Jan 25, 2012 - Posted by Dean Jobb

The Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down a sweeping ban on publishing details of the divorce proceedings of convicted murderer Col. Russell Williams, confirming that “emotional distress and embarrassment” are insufficient grounds for supressing information about court cases. The ban was lifted on Feb. 7.

Oct 30, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

A Toronto Star investigation into the city’s busy youth court met with resistance from judges and prosecutors, arbitrary publication bans and attempts to block access to the basic records the media needs to cover the justice system. In the words of reporter David Bruser, the paper had to fight to lift the “institutional shroud covering the often-disturbing details of youth crimes from public view.”Read the Star’s Oct. 29 report: “A Secret Court.”

 

Oct 14, 2011 - Posted by Dean Jobb

An Ontario judge has found no grounds for preventing the media from reporting that one of three people accused of murder has pleaded guilty, even though the co-accused will stand trial soon. And another judge of the province’s Superior Court has refused to seal documents filed in a civil case despite a claim they reveal trade secrets.

Dec 09, 2010 - Posted by Dana Lacey
An all-encompassing publication ban on the Tori Stafford murder case has been partially lifted to allow media outlets to report on a guilty plea by one of the accused.
Sep 20, 2010 - Posted by Dean Jobb
Canada’s leading newspapers and media law experts have condemned a sweeping publication ban imposed April 30 on a hearing in the Tori Stafford murder case.

Justice Dougald McDermid of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice prohibited the media from reporting what happened when Terri-Lynne McClintic, one of two people accused of the eight-year-old’s 2009 abduction and murder, was scheduled to appear in court in Woodstock.  The Globe and Mail ran a front-page editorial on May 1 calling the ban “absurd” and “a danger to Canadians.” 

The Toronto Star said it will challenge the scope of the temporary ban and warned in an editorial that “rumour and innuendo will replace solid reporting” if it stands. Star columnist Rosie DiManno says the ban “cheats Canadians” who have a right to follow the high-profile case, and underlined her point in another column in which the banned information was blacked out. Meanwhile, Ontario’s NDP justice critic and media law experts contend the ban goes too far and flies in the face of the Charter’s guarantee of press freedom.
Jun 11, 2010 - Posted by Dean Jobb
News 
A sweeping publication ban will continue to be imposed on bail hearings, even when suspects won't face a jury trial. The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a Criminal Code provision that requires judges to ban publication at the suspect's request. While the ban is designed to prevent jurors from hearing information about the suspect or the crime that might be inflammatory or inadmissible at trial, it is routinely imposed in all cases. The ban prohibits publication of all information presented at a bail hearing, including the judge's reasons for granting or denying release. The court turned down media requests to make the ban optional, and overturned a 2009 Ontario ruling that would have limited the ban to allegations of murder and other serious offences that were destined to be heard by a jury.
Read The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star reports on the ruling.
Follow the links to Toronto Star and Globe and Mail editorials criticizing the decision.
Read the court's ruling in Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada et al., which challenged bans on bail hearing held in 2006 for the Toronto 18 terrorism suspects. It incorporates the court's ruling on a companion appeal, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen et al., which arose from an Alberta murder case.
Jun 11, 2010 - Posted by Dean Jobb
Commentary
The Supreme Court of Canada's decision to uphold a sweeping ban on bail hearings is a loss for the public as well as for journalists, J-Source Law Editor Dean Jobb argues in a commentary in the Toronto Star. By shutting down informed debate over judges’ decisions to grant or deny bail to criminal suspects, the court has squandered an opportunity to enhance public confidence in the justice system.
Jan 19, 2010 - Posted by Christine Dobby
A Facebook page started in early January to host tribute to a murdered child flouted a publication ban. A day after the page was mentioned in a Toronto Star report, the court lifted the ban.
Nov 17, 2009 - Posted by Regan Ray
A group of news organizations including the Toronto Star, CBC, Associated Press and CTV have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down a law that makes publication bans on bail hearings mandatory if requested. According to...
Sep 06, 2009 - Posted by Dean Jobb
Commentary
Do journalists have the right to protect a confidential source? Can a news outlet be sued for libel if it made every effort to get the story right? Does publicizing a crime make it impossible for the suspect to have a fair trial? These issues are on the Supreme Court of Canada's docket this fall in six cases that will reshape media law in Canada. J-Source law section editor Dean Jobb explores what's at stake in a commentary first published in the Winnipeg Free Press.
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