November 15, 2013
2013 SKCA 122
A publication ban was sought in the matter of Alena Marie Pastuch et al in a hearing before the Saskatchewan Financial Services Commission. The Regina Leader Post opposed the ban.
Alena Marie Pastuch, a Regina businesswoman, and her string of companies are at the centre of proceedings under The Securities Act examining the alleged misappropriation of $5.6 million. A cease trade order was issued in November 2009, preliminary motions were heard in November 2012 and the formal hearing began in December.
At the start of the securities hearing, the Leader Post successfully opposed Pastuch’s application for an outright publication ban of the proceedings.
In June, the Leader Post, represented by Bill Johnson, was present in Court of Queen’s Bench when Pastuch made a number of applications, including another request for a publication ban. All were dismissed.
Most recently, in November, Pastuch again applied for a publication ban on an application before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to seek a stay of proceedings. As with her previous applications, Pastuch argued a publication ban was warranted because her application and affidavit included “highly personal, confidential, and medical” information covered by privacy laws.
Johnson argued she had not met the requirements for a publication ban as set out in the Dagenais/Mentuck test, and Justice Ottenbreit agreed. The judge also found no privacy laws, such as the Saskatchewan Health Information Protection Act, applied.
Johnson had urged the court to assess costs, suggesting a strong signal should be sent to this applicant that the courts must be used responsibly. He noted the Leader Post had appeared several times previously on publication bans sought by Pastuch.
Justice Ottenbreit ordered that the Leader Post shall have costs fixed at $1,500 to be paid forthwith.