February 18, 2015
R. v Jha 2015 ONSC 1064
In pre-trial motions in this criminal case the Crown and defence were granted a publication ban prohibiting the publication of any information that might identify the victim. This ban precluded the publication of the name of the accused, as she and the victim share the same surname.
The Toronto Star applied to vary or set aside the publication ban, proposing that it be narrowed to prohibit only the publication of the names of the surviving siblings. This would allow the publication of the names of the accused and the victim.
Following an analysis using the two-part Dagenais/Mentuck test, Justice Baltman found that the harmful consequences of the ban sought by the Crown and defence far outweighed any positive effects it might have.
Justice Baltman goes on to opine on the issue of giving notice to the media in publication ban motions. Baltman J. states that there is a need for creating an efficient and effective means of giving notice to media of applications for publication bans in Ontario.
At para. 27:
Counsel on this motion advised that discussions are currently underway in the provincial realm and a solution is soon expected. The sooner the better, hopefully resulting in a process similar to the one existing in the federal realm, where counsel for the applicant party – which is usually the Crown – notify the appropriate media outlets of the pending application in a timely and efficient fashion.