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Success at the Supreme Court of Canada on media case

Trevor Martin and Joseph Saulnier won an important victory at the Supreme Court of Canada in a case that will help to protect fairness and efficiency in jury trials across the country. On October 6, 2023, the Court ruled on the interpretation of section 648(1) of the Criminal Code, which creates an automatic, temporary publication ban over portions of jury trials where the jury is excused. The issue in the case was whether the ban applied to so-called “pre-trial” applications, which take place before the jury is even selected. The appellants, a group of media organizations, argued that the ban only applies after jury selection is complete. The Court accepted the arguments of the defence (and the Crown) in finding that the ban applies earlier. In particular, the Court found that this interpretation would best achieve the purposes behind the ban – to make sure jury trials proceed efficiently and are decided solely based on the evidence that is presented to the jury in court. The case was reported in The Globe and Mail and in Canadian Lawyer magazine.

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