Joannou v Canada (Attorney General) 2018 YKSC 43

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Note

In a recent decision, the Yukon Superior Court quashed a subpoena that had been served on a reporter employed by the Yukon News.

Decision Summary

The subpoena was issued by the Crown, requiring Ms. Joannou to appear as a witness at the trial of Tamara Goeppel. Ms. Goeppel was charged with three offences under the Yukon Elections Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 63.

The charges arose from alleged activities relating to proxy voting in the territorial election held in November 2016. The charges were laid in February 2017 and the subpoena was issued by a justice of the peace in August 2018.

The subject matter for which the Crown wanted Ms. Joannou to testify was a news story she wrote, and published in the Yukon News in October 2016. The story related to statements by Ms. Goeppel and others regarding solicitation of proxies.

Section 698 of the Criminal Code states that a subpoena may be issued where a person is likely to give material evidence.

The Court ruled that the Crown had the onus and quashed the subpoena because there was no evidence that the Justice of the Peace who issued the subpoena had considered:

1. whether the reporter had material evidence,

2. whether there were alternative sources, or,

3. the “special circumstances of the media and the necessity to balance the competing societal interests of freedom of the press and the need to investigate and prosecute crimes.”

To see copies of the material employed before the judge who quashed the subpoena, please go to the Members side of the website, under the heading, "Articles and Precendents By Topic", "Subpoenas".


Reference

Jouannou v Canada (Attorney General) 2018 YKSC 43

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