Premier wants riot trials broadcast

Attorney General Shirley Bond has ordered Crown prosecutors to ask judges to allow TV and radio coverage of court proceedings for those accused of participating in the Stanley Cup riot in June. But even if it happens, it will be highly restricted.

VICTORIA – Attorney General Shirley Bond has ordered Crown prosecutors to ask judges to allow TV and radio coverage of court proceedings for those accused of participating in the Stanley Cup riot in June.

The vow was made in the throne speech Monday, and Premier Christy Clark elaborated on it in a news conference after the speech.

“When it comes to the Stanley Cup riots, those guys had no problem doing their crimes quite in public, with all kinds of people taking pictures and doing videos all around them, so I think they should have no problem being tried in public either,” Clark said.

A spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch initially said Crown prosecutors are opposed to broadcasting criminal proceedings. Bond said Tuesday she has signed an order directing them to seek permission to broadcast, with charges expected to be laid this month against dozens of suspects.

Radio and TV are only allowed in courts with the permission of the trial judge, and even if that is granted, coverage is restricted by a long list of rules. They include a broadcast delay until at least two hours after the court session has ended, and the ability of “any witness, counsel or other participant in the proceedings who objects to being identified pictorially or by voice” to avoid being recorded.

Bond rejected the suggestion that broadcasting riot cases is designed to shame the participants.

“I don’t think it’s about public shaming at all,” Bond said. “I think it’s about an event that impacted all of British Columbia and beyond. And I think there is a public interest in ensuring that this is a transparent, open process.”

NDP justice critic Leonard Krog said the government’s call for televised prosecution is a gimmick to divert public attention from the overburdened court system, which has seen more serious cases than drunken vandalism dismissed due to delays.

“I don’t suspect that judges are going to be interested in having cameras in courtrooms to deal with what are often minor offences,” Krog said.

He also criticized the proposal in Monday’s throne speech to deal with backlogged courts by allowing retired judges to come back and work part-time. Trials are often adjourned for weeks or months due to availability of witnesses or other delays, and a part-time judge may not be available when needed, he said.

Just Posted

Some Hope school buses will soon have seatbelts

Parents asked to encourage children to comply with new safety rules

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

Restriction on tent size, barbecue locations possible for Harrison beaches

Residents will be seeing a draft bylaw head back to council on the barbecue issue

Chilliwack transit free on Saturday for parade; regular fares for Agassiz, Harrison

Bus rides are free on all Chilliwack routes to help people get to the Christmas Parade on Dec. 7

VIDEO: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The second annual Lights by the Lake kicked off Saturday, Nov. 23

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read