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FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3360
Reputation: 73.4
votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Journalist's contempt charge overturned... Reply with quote

From CTV.ca:

Quote:
TORONTO -- A journalist's contempt conviction for protecting a confidential source was overturned Monday by Ontario's highest court after media lawyers successfully argued there was a constitutional question at stake.

Hamilton Spectator reporter Ken Peters was found in contempt after he refused to reveal a source during a civil trial in 2004.

While all sides at his appeal agreed the trial judge failed to follow procedure in finding Peters in contempt, media lawyers squared off against counsel for the Ontario Attorney General on whether there was a constitutional question at stake...

..."It is sufficiently apparent that the likely effect of revealing a journalist's confidential source will be to discourage, from coming forward, other potential sources,'' the judgment reads...


This is an interesting issue. While I'm generally opposed to restrictions of free speech, I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of 'creating' a right for journalists that does not exist for citizens in general. With sufficiently strong 'whistleblower' legislation, I don't think legal source protection is necessary beyond that which already exists in common law.
Mac





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 5500
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votes: 35
Location: John Baird's riding...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bizarre part is this ruling doesn't follow the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling which said basically the opposite: the police's duty to investigate a crime supersedes the media's perceived right to protect the anonymity of sources.

-Mac
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3360
Reputation: 73.4
votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac wrote:
The bizarre part is this ruling doesn't follow the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling which said basically the opposite: the police's duty to investigate a crime supersedes the media's perceived right to protect the anonymity of sources.

-Mac


I wasn't aware of that ruling ... do you know the name of the case?
Mac





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 5500
Reputation: 104
votes: 35
Location: John Baird's riding...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
I wasn't aware of that ruling ... do you know the name of the case?

My oops! It was the Supreme Court of Ontario, not Canada.

http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/308225

-Mac
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3360
Reputation: 73.4
votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac wrote:
FF_Canuck wrote:
I wasn't aware of that ruling ... do you know the name of the case?

My oops! It was the Supreme Court of Ontario, not Canada.

http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/308225

-Mac


Thanks for the link, I was able to use it to locate the full decision on Canlii.org: Link

Ontario Court of Appeal wrote:
... However, this does not mean that press organizations or journalists are immune from valid searches under s. 8 of the Charter. And s. 2(b) does not guarantee that journalists have an automatic right to protect the confidentiality of their sources.


I don't alway get how rules of precedence work, but it seems to me that the SCOJ should have taken direction from the SCOA's earlier ruling.
Mac





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 5500
Reputation: 104
votes: 35
Location: John Baird's riding...

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
I don't alway get how rules of precedence work, but it seems to me that the SCOJ should have taken direction from the SCOA's earlier ruling.

As I understand it (cop, not lawyer) lawyers for either side can present precedents to the judge to support their positions. The judge decides whether to support the precedent (or not) by comparing the situations. He/she can then choose to follow or not to follow the judgement of the precedent or not... If a precedent is strongly worded and it clarifies a point of law, the judge would be presenting ground for appeal by ignoring a precedent.

-Mac
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