R. v. Quintal

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April 17, 2003

Judge Lefever considered an application by Quintal to seal a forensic assessment filed in criminal proceedings. The application was successfully opposed by The Edmonton Journal and The Edmonton Sun. This is an extensive review of open justice, and a ringing endorsement of open justice in the context of criminal sentencing. It is mandatory reading for media lawyers. He concluded:

In my opinion, one of the vital parts of a criminal prosecution centers upon the sentencing hearing. It is not sufficient for the public to learn that a person charged with a serious criminal offence was convicted in a public trial, but that a significant part of the sentencing hearing is to be withheld from the public.
[205] As the ultimate disposition of the prosecution is the sentencing of the accused, the proper disposition of the prosecution should be kept fully in the public view. This includes making available to the public any critical exhibits filed which were before the court on the sentencing hearing.
[206] Save for the protection of third parties which has been referred to above, there is no reason to seal the FACS report. By allowing full access by the public to the FACS assessment, with a limited publication ban on some identifying information in respect of third parties, the compelling societal values inherent in s. 2 (b) of the Charter are protected.

See: R. v. Quintal

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