Thanks to a deal struck between the Ontario Press Council and Ryerson University vice-president Adam B. Kahan, the Ontario Press Council will now hold its hearings at the Oakham Lounge, the campus conference centre, starting Thursday.
There are four hearings scheduled for November, all involving complaints against the Toronto Star.
A morning and afternoon hearing is set for Thursday, Nov.18, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
First up is Douglas Brown, a former teacher who taught at Upper Canada College when Russell Williams was a student there. Brown was convicted of molesting boys and served time in prison. A Star profile on Williams pointed out that Brown and Williams were at UCC at the same time. Brown claims the story implied that he and Williams crossed paths in some way, or that there was a culture at the school. Brown says he told the Star that he never met Williams and that he taught in a separate building from him.
Next is William Keubler, the U.S. government-appointed Pentagon lawyer who represented Omar Kadhr for a time. The Star said Kadhr fired him, but Keubler claims he was excused because he decided to quit. Keubler will deliver his presentation by conference call.
The following week, the Council will again adjudicate two hearings on the same day.
At 10 a.m. on Wednesday Nov. 24, the Council will hear Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin, who claims the Star erred in writing stories that made him out to be an overbearing boss.
At 2 p.m., the council will hear the lawyer who represented the Ombudsman’s office. The Star reported that he got the job because he was a friend of Marin and had known him a long time. The lawyer, who is not without his supporters, claims he got the job because he is a good lawyer with credentials and he had only a working relationship with Marin.
Individual hearings happen in two parts: an open meeting where both sides give an oral summation and a closed session where the adjudication panel attempts to reach a decision. After that, the decision goes to the entire press council (10 public members, 10 professional members and a public member chair) for discussion and a vote. If the panel’s decision is upheld, a written summary is posted on the Ontario Press Council website and sent to all members: in total, 225 daily and community papers.
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