R. v. Peebles et al.
From Ad IDEM / CMLA
October 3, 2005
Frank Peebles, a reporter for The Prince George Citizen, managed to avoid breaching a publication ban on the prior conviction of an accused, and the fact that his new trial was for an offence he was alleged to have committed while on parole. Unfortunately, he, his editor, and his paper were convicted of contempt, and received fines of $1000, $1000, and $10,000 respectively.
The Court picked up from R. v. Froese, and R. v. CHBC Television, and reiterated the test for contempt as including an examination of whether the publication created a real and substantial risk to the fairness of the accused's trial or the proper administration of justice. The risk must be real, as opposed to remote or hypothetical, and must be substantial, not trifling. The burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.
In this case, the publication led to a mistrial. There was no likelihood that evidence of the prior conviction would have been admissible at trial.
See: R. v Peebles et al.
Submitted by: Daniel Henry