Publication ban law too broad, court rules

Jan 26, 2009 04:49 PM


Bail hearings in cases where there's no threat of tainting a jury pool shouldn't be placed under a publication ban just because the accused asks for one, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in a decision released today.

"It's certainly a huge issue in terms of freedom of the press and the public's right to information," Iris Fischer, a media lawyer who worked on the case, said of the ruling.

"Right now, it's very rare that bail hearings can be reported on. Usually the public has no idea if someone has been granted bail in a high-profile case why or why not."

A section of the Criminal Code stipulates that if an accused asks for a publication ban on a bail hearing it is automatically granted. The evidence heard at those hearings cannot be reported until a trial is over.

But in a 3-2 decision today, the Appeal Court ruled that should only be the case when there is a chance an ensuing trial might be heard before a jury.

The Alberta Court of Appeal recently fully upheld the bail hearing publication ban section of the Criminal Code, but media lawyers have sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

That issue was brought about in regards to the case of Michael White, who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife. The Ontario case came about from the so-called Toronto 18 terror suspects' bail hearings.

The Ontario court ruled that in cases involving lesser offences that would only be heard by a judge, the accused should have to argue why a publication ban on the bail hearing is warranted.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that while such publication bans are necessary to protect an accused's right to a fair trial, the section of the Criminal Code dealing with bans is unconstitutional.

The decision also means that if at any point it's decided the case is to be tried by judge alone, then the publication ban on the evidence is lifted.

The two judges who dissented would have removed the automatic aspect to publication bans even in cases where a jury trial is possible, Fischer said.




Judges have absolute power and we all know that absolute power corrupts absolutely, take any random group in society and most cannot resist the temptation to abuse absolute power. Our government fails us, there is no Policing of Judges, the Judicial Council is a total farce, its like complaining about crime to the Hells Angels. Ontario Family Court Judges are the worst flagrant abusers, the very worst never allow recording, in fact its a set up, no one is brave enough to ask for permission to record because bad judges don't want any record, they want to be able to dictate changes to transcripts if ordered, or simply "delay" and justice delayed is justice denied. Good judges by comparison will proudly state in court, "I have never denied any application to record a proceeding". "Those judges are the saints to the legal profession, they have nothing to fear as their reputations precede them and are well known. So it is with the Horrors of the judiciary, who make "Power orders or "Sheffield Orders" backed up at the court of appeal, very conveniently by the Court of Appeals top man hater, Madam Justice Feldman who has the worst record of decisions against men bar none. Its like the sex you have when you are not having sex, its doing indirectly what is legally wrong directly, Feldman, Power, Sheffield, are a tag team, using the process of justification, aka "male hatred" or "Male Gender Apartheid" to make draconian decisions that sever, without cause, a child's relationship with a father simply because he has spoken publically about Judicial Corruption by the underbelly, the ethically challenged whose PUBLIC RECORD (see CanLii or the Research by Peter Roscoe) shows a hatred towards those who expose their abuses. Publicy used to "delay" embarrassing information. Its time for change , see the research by Peter Roscoe at ottawamenscentre site.t