July 2, 2015
Jane Doe v London Free Press 2015 ONSC 4239
In a re-trial of charges relating to a sexual assault the Crown requested and received an expansive non-publication order that included the names of the complainant as well as any witnesses.
In this judgment, Justice Grace found that, while breach of a non-publication order made under s. 486.4(1) or (2) is an offence punishable on summary conviction, the “civil consequences of a breach of statute should be “subsumed in the law of negligence.””
In answer to the question: “Is Sun Media liable in negligence”, Justice Grace found that “the non-publication order created a relationship of sufficient proximity to obligate Sun Media to be mindful of the interests of all of those who testified…and that a duty of care has been established.”
With respect to the standard of care the London Free Press reporter was found to have fallen “below the standard of a reasonably prudent reporter”.
As to damages, Justice Grace found that the plaintiff suffered damage and that the “defendant’s breach of a standard of care caused that damage in fact and in law” and awarded the plaintiff damages.