Thursday, July 26, 2012

Justice of the Peace was right in St. Catharines trucker case

In today’s Sun (Story)   Michele Mandel says a “justice of the peace had inexplicably approved a ban” on publishing the name of a trucker accused of “of leaving the scene of a horrible accident that killed a young boy”.  It’s a dreadful crime but the Justice of the Peace was almost certainly following the law as established by Parliament.

The only reason the trucker would be before a Justice of the Peace would be for a bail hearing. 

The Criminal Code that provides for bans on publication in bail hearings.  Under s. 517(1) if the accused seeks a publication ban the justice “shall” grant one.  It is mandatory. The section provides:

Order directing matters not to be published for specified period

517. (1) If the prosecutor or the accused intends to show cause under section 515, he or she shall so state to the justice and the justice may, and shall on application by the accused, before or at any time during the course of the proceedings under that section, make an order directing that the evidence taken, the information given or the representations made and the reasons, if any, given or to be given by the justice shall not be published in any document, or broadcast or transmitted in any way before such time as

(a) if a preliminary inquiry is held, the accused in respect of whom the proceedings are held is discharged; or

(b) if the accused in respect of whom the proceedings are held is tried or ordered to stand trial, the trial is ended.

Whether such a ban makes sense is a question for Parliament – a Justice of the Peace at a bail hearing must impose a ban is the accused requests it.  Accordingly, blaming the justice of the peace for imposing a ban is directing fault in the wrong direction.  

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