Archive
24 Apr

CAJ Code of Silence – Call for nominations

<p>It's time to get even with that publicly funded government, department or agency whose information is kept in the murky shadows.”</p>

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31 Jan

Bureaucratic roadblocks frustrate access to court files

<p><em>There is a serious and troubling disconnect between the public’s right of access to the courts and the reality on the ground for journalists who try to cover them. <strong>Dean Jobb</strong> explains this troubling disconnect with examples of recent decisions that reflect his experience as a court reporter.</em></p><p><strong>Nova Scotia erects new barriers as Ontario, B.C. promise better access</strong></p><p><strong>Commentary </strong><strong>by Dean Jobb</strong></p>

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25 Jan

Ban on Williams’ divorce file overturned

<p>The Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down a sweeping ban on publishing details of the divorce proceedings of convicted murderer Col. Russell Williams, confirming that “emotional distress and embarrassment” are insufficient grounds for supressing information about court cases. The Jan. 24 ruling upholds the open-courts principle and found that Williams’ estranged wife failed to present evidence to justify sealing the divorce file. “Purely personal interests cannot justify non-publication or sealing orders,” Justice David Doherty said in the ruling.

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30 Oct

Piercing youth court ‘shroud’ of secrecy

<p>A <em>Toronto</em> Star investigation into the city’s busy youth court met with resistance from judges and prosecutors, arbitrary publication bans and attempts to block access to the basic records the media needs to cover the justice system. In the words of reporter David Bruser, the paper had to fight to lift the “institutional shroud covering the often-disturbing details of youth crimes from public view.”Read the Star’s Oct.

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14 Oct

Rulings reject guilty plea ban, sealing order

<p>An Ontario judge has found no grounds for preventing the media from reporting that one of three people accused of murder has pleaded guilty, even though the co-accused will stand trial soon. And another judge of the province’s Superior Court has refused to seal documents filed in a civil case despite a claim they reveal trade secrets.</p>

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4 Mar

New B.C. rules improve court file access

Feb. 28, 2011 — Under new rules that came into effect today, British Columbia’s courts will no longer block access to the court file in cases where a publication ban is in place. Previously, journalists and citizens were barred from reviewing documents filed in sexual assault and other cases, even though other provinces permit access. […]

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11 Feb

B.C. vows improved court file access

NewsBritish Columbia’s attorney general promises sweeping changes to make the province’s courts more open in the wake of a Victoria Times Colonist investigation that exposed inconsistent access practices at courthouse registries. Mike de Jong says an outdated policy that authorizes clerks to withhold an entire file when a publication ban protects a name or other […]

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9 Feb

B.C. series probes court file access

NewsThe Victoria Times Colonist has published a four-day series exposing glaring inconsistencies in public access to court records at British Columbia courthouses. Some court officials cited a legally flawed, 16-year-old policy similar to one discredited and abandoned in Ontario last year that allows them to withhold files if there is a publication ban on a […]

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4 Feb

Information not free in British Columbia: report

The government of British Columbia breaks its own law on meeting freedom of information requests nearly half the time, reports a study (pdf) submitted to a legislature committee reviewing the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The study, by student Morgan Blakley of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, was done […]

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17 Nov

News orgs appeal decision on publication bans for bail hearings

A group of news organizations including the Toronto Star, CBC, Associated Press and CTV have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down a law that makes publication bans on bail hearings mandatory if requested. According to a Star report on the case: “It was clear by the phalanx of 27 lawyers who appeared […]

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