February 1, 2011
Panelists Pamela Williams, Rick Burns
Why do we have publication bans?
Ex. Bail hearing – often reporters are there – certain evidence to particular individuals the
judge declares not newsworthy – could affect outcome of further proceedings. Jurors
could read facts; interfere what they hear and influence their decisions ahead of time.
Vulnerable witnesses; victims of sexual assault – request made by crown not to publish
the name of that person in the paper. Person referred to as ‘young child’, ‘8-year old’ –
info to identify may not be published (name of parents, name of school, etc.) – Why? –
already in the system as a victim; process already difficult, having the info as general
knowledge could harm well-being.
Young persons cannot have names publishes. Youth Criminal Justice Act – want to help
youth get back on the right track. By identifying who they are to their peers, the public, is
not likely to aid in rehabilitation.
Two exceptions: 1. If the young person meets the criteria of being sentenced as an adult.
If the crime is of significant magnitude; can be tried as an adult and subject to adult
2. Youth charged with a crime with a danger to the public (i.e. at large) – police can make
application to the youth court judge that the identity of that youth be published in
newspapers as to seek the publics assistance
‘Balancing act’ – open court principle, but has to be balanced with the rights of the
citizen. Small % of cases where a judge may be convinced to not allow the press to name
an adult accused person i.e. in cases where identifying that person would tend to identify
the victim. Only until the accused is apprehended.
What happens when there isn’t a publication ban?
Can publish whatever has been recorded. Youth (under the age of 18) – no publishing
unless the judge has given permission. Cannot publish info that identifies the youth, even
if there is no publication ban. Circumstances for a publication ban?
Under Article 46 – Anything to the sexual integrity of a victim.
Bans are mandatory for child pornography; can’t identify in any way.
46.5 in the Criminal Code – not mandatory for a publication ban, needs an application
(defense, prosecturor, etc.) – to keep the name of a police officer (ex. Undercover officer)
out. Time limits on ban for a police officer’s name.