*** This slavish desire to protect the right to a fair trial prevents the public from knowing anything of value until long after the events. It allows for online disinformers to pass judgment in these cases and deliberately create a false narrative that will never be undone. It causes the public to lose faith in the justice system - which I suggest, trumps the right of an accused to a fair trial - assuming that the release of even SOME information would unfairly prejudice potential jurors. MS ***
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld an accused person's right to have an automatic publication ban on evidence at their bail hearing.
In an 8-1 decision, the high court dismissed appeals brought by the Associated Press, the CBC, the Toronto Star and the Edmonton Journal that argued judges should decide whether evidence presented at a bail hearing should be temporarily banned from publication.
The ruling upholds a Criminal Code provision that makes a publication ban at a bail hearing mandatory if an accused person requests one.
The Supreme Court was ruling in two separate but high-profile cases — the 2006 "Toronto 18" terrorism case and the 2005 case of an Alberta man eventually convicted of murdering his pregnant wife.
Prior to the arraignment of the Toronto 18, police held a news conference disclosing details of their alleged plot to blow up several high-profile targets.
Details about the prosecution's case were subsequently banned at the bail hearing of several suspects.
Public outrage ensued when Michael White of Edmonton was released on bail after being charged with murdering his wife because no details of the judge's reasons could be reported.