November 8, 2019
R v Labrecque 2019 QCCS Application for pub ban
Mr. Maxime Labrecque faces charges or first-degree murder of his ex-spouse, Isabelle Lavoie. His trial is about to take place when the accused’s sister, Sylvianne Labrecque, as legal guardian for the ex-spouses’ two children, asks the Court for a publication ban on the latter’s names and any other information that would tend to identify them, inclusive of the accused and victim’s names. Labrecque argues the publication ban is necessary to protect the children’s privacy and their health and safety. Radio-Canada opposes the application while undertaking not to publish the children’s names.
Justice Pennou denied the application. He concluded that, although it is important to protect vulnerable children, a publication ban could not be considered necessary to prevent a serious risk to the public interest within the meaning of the Dagenais/Mentuck test. He also concluded that the salutary effects of the publication ban would not outweigh its many deleterious effects.
This judgment is interesting because the children’s right to privacy was in direct competition with the public interest insofar as the application concerned the accused and the victim’s names. It appears to be the first time in Quebec that the privacy rights of vulnerable children are subject to the Dagenais/Mentuck analysis. Justice Pennou’s decision goes in line with two previous findings of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in R. v. Hosannah, 2015 ONSC 380 and R. v. Jha, 2015 ONSC 1064.