Metroland reporter not required to testify in criminal case, judge rules

An Ontario Superior Court judge has quashed a subpoena that would have forced This Week reporter Jennifer Stone to testify about an interview she conducted with a man currently on trial.

Stone was covering the case of a Peterborough, Ont. man facing charges related to the sexual assault of a 12-year old girl on Aug. 5. She interviewed the man at the correction centre where he is being held. The Crown wanted Stone to testify in order to compare the stories the accused man told Stone, his girlfriend and police.

Justice Bruce Glass said in his ruling:

“There is a requirement to balance the interests of the state in the investigation and prosecution of crimes with the right to privacy of the media in the course of gathering news and reporting it. The subpoena is founded on speculation and does not meet the necessity requirements.”

This Week editor-in-chief Joanne Burghardt said of the ruling:

“We’re very happy with this decision.When the Crown attempts to use a journalist’s investigative abilities to boltser their case at trial, the argument should be so overwhelming that there can be no doubt about the material value of that information to a fair and just airing of the facts. There was no such case made here.”

According to the Metroland report, Stone will continue to cover the trial.