Pub Bans and Sealing Orders

HMQ v Rebecca Reid 2019 OCJ 19-6210

An application was brought by the Crown for a publication ban and a sealing order relating to the proposed victim impact statement of the victim in this case, Lisa Macleod.

Rebecca Reid pleaded guilty to threatening and criminally harassing Ms. Macleod between February 8, 2019 and March 1, 2019. During this period of time she sent Ms. Macleod over one hundred emails and left seven voice mail messages that were angry and threatening in nature. The emails and voicemail messages were filed as exhibits on the guilty plea.

Ms. Macleod stated that she would only submit a victim impact statement in the case if she could be assured its contents would not be published or broadcast.

In the interest of obtaining this information for the court, the Crown brought an application for a publication ban on the contents of Ms. Macleod’s victim impact statement in the event she submitted one.

Counsel for the media argued there was no jurisdiction in the Ontario Court of Justice to make the order sought. The Crown argued that jurisdiction exists either at common law or pursuant to s. 486.7 of the Criminal Code.

Counsel for the media argued that the scope of s. 486.7 is limited to testimonial aids and is not intended or broad enough to authorize publication bans on the content of witnesses testimony or victim impact statements.