December 9, 2020
R v Moazami 2020 BCCA 350
Postmedia Network Inc. and the CBC challenged the constitutionality of
sections of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s “Record and Courtroom Access Policy” that apply to criminal appeal records, on the basis that they subvert the open court principle and are unjustifiably contrary to s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As a result of the BCCA’s access policy, and the processes adopted under it by the parties and the court, CBC and Postmedia spent 130 days trying to get access to records filed with the court in a matter of public interest (possible bail of convicted pimp and human trafficker because investigating police officer was himself later charged and convicted with offence).
On day 130, and without any application brought by anyone to actually seal the records, Postmedia and CBC filed a Notice of Constitutional Question about whether the policy itself offended s. 2(b) of the Charter.
The constitutional challenge was dismissed. The court found that the impugned sections of the Court’s policy do not infringe s. 2(b) rights.