January 28, 2011
Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Canada
At S’s trial, the Crown produced as an exhibit a video recording of a statement he had made to the police before being charged. The Superior Court authorized journalists to view the statement in another courtroom and to film the screen on which the statement was being played back, but prohibited them from broadcasting the recording of the statement. The CBC and Groupe TVA applied to the Superior Court for permission to broadcast the video recording of the statement, but their motion was dismissed. The CBC appealed that decision.
Held: The appeal should be dismissed.
Broadcasting exhibits is not the same issue as broadcasting from court. The Supreme Court overturned a lower court finding that they were related, and confirmed that the test to be used when considering the broadcast of exhibits is the Dagenais/Mentucktest, where the onus is on the party wanting to restrict broadcast to demonstrate that it’s necessary. The court added considerations to that test related to the impact on the trial of any co-accused and the accused personally, including in this case his vulnerability as an intellectually disabled person, and his acquittal. In the end, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and denied Radio-Canada and TVA the right to broadcast the accused’s police interview exhibit on the grounds that given other developments in his case the original access argument had become moot.