Legal relic sub judice is good sanctuary for politicians

Sub judice is the legal notion that it is inappropriate to talk about matters that are before the court, wrote The Globe and Mail April 2 in a story about a comments made by BC Attorney-General Wally Oppal to the media, suggesting they explain the term. That may have been a tactical mistake, wrote the Globe.

“The sub judice rule made sense at a time in which trials were almost exclusively trials by jury and there was a feeling that comments made outside a trial might unduly influence jury members,” said Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a leading academic authority on the law in Canada. “But now, 98 per cent of criminal cases are heard without a jury. The sub judice rule is a bit more of a historical relic than a political rule today,” said Young.

“Politicians hide behind the sub judice rule,” Young said in an interview. “That’s why it won’t be changed because it’s a good sanctuary for the political actor. The reality is its’ not as significant as it used to be.”

Mom guilty of abuse of York student’s baby son

A Scarborough woman was found guilty of physically abusing her baby and of nearly killing him by giving him cocaine for 14 months, a Superior Court judge ruled yesterday, wrote The Toronto Sun April 2. The boy, whose identity is covered by a publication ban, suffered multiple fractured ribs and a broken forearm and his mom had exposed him to cocaine for 14 months, said Justice Tamarin Dunnet. She will sentence the mother May 8.

“She was supposed to nurture and protect our son and instead abused him,” said the boy’s father, 26, a York University student. “I wasn’t able to protect my son and she almost killed him. It hurts to think about that.” He said his now six-year-old son has suffered permanent brain damage, although the extent of his limitations hasn’t yet been determined. “He’s a very happy boy now. He’s able to run around and play but his fine motor skills have been diminished. He cannot write in a straight line.”

On air

  • York benefactors Ivan Fecan (BFA ’01, LLD ’08), chair of York’s 50 to the Power of 50 alumni group, and his wife Sandra Faire (LLD ’08), along with York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, were mentioned in coverage of the St. George’s Society Red Rose Ball on CTV April 1. Part of the proceeds from the ball, where Fecan and Faire were honoured, will go to York.
  • Rob Bowman, professor of ethnomusicology in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, spoke about the Juno Awards on CBC Radio April 1.
  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the restructuring of the auto industry on CBC Radio (Windsor) April 1.