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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Dust on Crust bring bluegrass to Golden

The band came together at the Wolf’s Den jam nights and have been playing bluegrass ever since

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

Most Read