R. v. White


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June 10, 2010

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the media appeal from the decision referred to below.

See: Toronto Star v Canada

June 5, 2007

The bail hearing ban set out in Section 517 of the Criminal Code has been re-written by Justice Brooker of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta in response to an application by CBC, the Edmonton Journal, Bell Globemedia (the Globe and Mail, CTV) and the Edmonton Sun. The ban will now not be available in cases that won't involve a jury, and, unless the Code is amended within 12 months, the ban won't be automatic on the application of an accused... it will be a matter of judicial discretion, if sought.

The case in which this arose was a controversial one. When Mr. White was first granted bail, the community was concerned about how he might have been let out... so much so, that the Crown sought judicial review of the bail order. On that review, it became clear that the standard bail hearing ban didn't apply... so the Court of Appeal decided that their review of the bail hearing could be published... after a Dagenais analysis.

One can only imagine the frustration the original bail hearing judge must have felt, since the automatic ban precluded publication of his reasons for letting Mr. White go free in the first place... reasons which might have satisfied some of the public concern expressed in his decision's aftermath...

In any case, Justice Brooker reviewed the standard ban in the context of recent Supreme Court Charter decisions, and agreed with the media that it needed to be amended.

He added the words "Where a jury trial is possible" to the beginning of the section, and struck out the words "and shall on application by the accused". He suspended his latter revision for 12 months to give time to Parliament to revise the law in accordance with the Charter.

The reasons are well worth reading.

They do differ from the result in the Ontario Superior Court in the terrorism case. The two decisions in Ontario are under appeal to the Ontario Court of Appea[l.

R. v. White (PDF)

Members Section Materials

R.v.White, Affidavit of Jonathan Freedman

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