JN204 Lecture Notes - Voir Dire, Publication Ban, Trial

48 views2 pages
8 Mar 2013
School
Department
Course
Journalism
October 11th, 2012
Week 6, thursday
contempt of court
pre trial, during trial and post trial. Criminal trials:
PRE TRIAL:
the principle of open justice means that everything that takes place in a coutrroom is the public's
business by default.
All information at every stage of a criminal case can be published, as long as there is no
statutory or court imposed publication ban.
There is an automatic publication ban on voir dire hearings in jury trials, at which the jury is
absent.
Voir dire- mini trial to see which evidence is admitted in open court or not.
The public and reporters ay attend these hearings but not publish and details from them until
later.
The automatic ban on information presented at voir dire hearing expires as soon as jurors leave
the courtroom to begin deliberations. As they are sequestered.
Unless a judge imposes a ban, media are free to report on all previously restricted details once
jury deliberations begin.
No risk of contempt in publishing details in the charging document: the accused's name,
address, place of occupation, time and place of the incident, identity of the victim, the wording
of the law that's been breached.
Judges will often overlook reports that are short, fact based, and neutral in tone.
Stories that take a more sensational approach- lurid photos, front page positioning, colourful
commentary, are more likely to be found in contempt.
TRIAL PHASE:
the risk increases as the commencement of a trial draws nearer
Background stories on the eve of a trial and stories published once a jury has been empanelled
are at greater risk of contempt.
Disclosing a defendant's criminal rcord shortly before or during a trial is likely to result in a
mistrial and contempt charges.
Unless the criminal record has been presented in open court, before a jury.
General rule: if the jury has seen it in court, you're allowed to publish it.
Reporting on retrials- when a defendant has won a new trial on appeal- can be seen as
prejudicial if you include information about the defendant's previous conviction.
Reporting on parole hearings is low risk as long as you don't give an opinion as to whether
parole is deserved or not.
Reporting that a defendant is in custody awaiting trial or showing images of him or her under
guard is low-risk.
Discussing security measures not seen by jurors risks contempt as it may prejudice jurors.
Avoid reporting the maximum penalty for an offence under the criminal code.
Jurors never learn the maximum penalty, as it may lead them to believe a defendant's crime is
more serious than it is.
It's fine to talk to lawyers to clarify something that happened in court.
Avoid asking for additional evidence or reactions, as that might be prejudicial. Both lawyers
Unlock document

This preview shows half of the first page of the document.
Unlock all 2 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Document Summary

Week 6, thursday contempt of court pre trial, during trial and post trial. Judges will often overlook reports that are short, fact based, and neutral in tone. Jurors never learn the maximum penalty, as it may lead them to believe a defendant"s crime is more serious than it is. It"s fine to talk to lawyers to clarify something that happened in court: avoid asking for additional evidence or reactions, as that might be prejudicial. Both lawyers and reporters could be held in sub judice contempt. Publishing elated stories, particularly those in close proximity to stories about ongoing court case, could earn a contempt citation. Penalties range from to , 000 for serious acts. If you cause a mistrial, your news outlet may be ordered to pay a defendants legal fees as well as the cost of a new trial. The second form of sub judice contempt is mostly historical since the charter.

Get access

Grade+
$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
40 Verified Answers
Study Guides
Booster Classes
Class+
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
30 Verified Answers
Study Guides
Booster Classes