Judge lifts Blackberry ban at Col. Williams hearing

Journalists are now allowed to bring their laptops and cell phones into
court during the sentencing hearing for Col. Russell Williams, who has
admitted to murder and sexual stalking. Through his lawyer he annoucned plans to plead guilty to murder, sexual assault and a series of break-ins and thefts.

The ban on reporters’ Blackberrys, laptops and cellphones was lifted by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Scott after a pre-trial motion from the CBC and the Ottawa Citizen.

The CBC reports that media lawyers argued for access to case exhibits, requesting that restrictions on journalists in the courtroom be lifted.

CBC writes:

“Scott also ruled that audio tape recording devices will be allowed to facilitate the taking of accurate notes. Members of the public will not be allowed to use laptops, cellphones or other recording devices during the sentencing and plea.

“The media lawyers also asked the judge, as well as prosecutors and Williams’s lawyer, for clarification over what evidence can be released to the public and what can be published in the case once his sentencing hearing begins.”

The decision is expected to happen after Monday, when evidence will be presented to the court. Journalists can then inquire about which evidence–which includes graphic photos, women’s underwear and detailed notes Williams wrote about his crimes–can be shown to the public, and which should be held back to protect the victims.