Ontario’s highest court has narrowly upheld the sweeping ban on publishing any information presented at a bail hearing, except in youth court cases and for minor offences not heard by a jury. Three of five members of the Ontario Court of Appeal say the ban ensures defendants receive a fair trial, but two dissenting judges called the Criminal Code provision “a dramatic curb on freedom of expression” that prevents informed public debate about why bail has been granted or refused. Media organizations challenged the ban when it was imposed on bail hearings for 18 Brampton-area men charged in an alleged terrorist conspiracy in 2006. One media lawyer says limiting the ban to jury cases is “a positive step towards openness” but the issue may be headed to the Supreme Court of Canada for a final ruling.
Read the Associated Press and The Globe and Mail reports on the ruling.
Read the ruling.
Read the Globe‘s editorial calling on Parliament to amend the ban.
An appeal of an Alberta ruling upholding the bail hearing ban is headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.