R. v. BCTV and Hope

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June 29, 1999

BCTV pleaded guilty to contempt of court for reporting, on the first day of a jury trial, that the accused, "a convicted killer" was back in court. The item was aired once at 6:30 a.m. before senior news staff caught it and pulled it from subsequent news broadcasts. The station apologized immediately to the court and a special legal seminar was held for morning news staff to prevent a recurrence. BCTV's track record was otherwise good. The station agreed to pay $4000 to a legal education fund, in lieu of a fine, at the judge's suggestion. The judge had earlier banned publication of the identity of the accused and other details, but then rescinded that order. In the face of the contempt, the original order was reimposed until the jury began deliberations. An application for a mistrial was denied. Interestingly, the judge noted that eight of the twelve jurors had heard of the accused prior to their being selected, probably because of the notoriety of his earlier murder conviction.

See R. v. BCTV and Hope

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