Media coverage and the right to a fair trial



The Eaton Centre shooting and the Luka Magnotta case have received a lot of media attention — but will this coverage have an effect on the accused’s right to a fair trial? Luka Magnotta’s case caught the media’s attention quickly when two body parts were mailed to two Canadian political parties. He is also alleged to have posted the video of the murder and acts cannibalism online. Because new events continue to unfold, the case is still prominent in the media. Some experts say it may have an effect on Magnotta’s trial because it is difficult for the public to be objective after everything it has heard. The same may be true for Christopher Husbands, who allegedly killed one man and injured several others in last weekend’s Eaton Centre shooting. The story spread quickly via social media (a professional athlete actually broke the story) and affects a large number of people and their perceived sense of safety and outlook on Toronto. After almost every major Toronto media outlet had identified the victims of the shooting, a publication ban was placed on their names. That said, these are not the first Canadian incidents where the right to a fair trial may be compromised by media coverage.