Bail hearing ban upheld in criminal cases

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.