Rare publication ban splits legal observers

Publication bans have become routine in high-profile court cases, but few have been as sweeping as the one imposed on April 30 in the Ontario murder case of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, wrote PostMedia News Dec. 9.

Outside legal observers were split over the necessity of the ban. “I don’t like the suppression of information. It irks me,” said James Stribopoulos, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Stribopoulos said there are safeguards in place to avoid having a prejudiced jury, such as the ability to move a trial to a different city. And with [co-accused Michael] Rafferty’s trial not expected to begin until next year, he wonders how many details the jurors would actually remember. “By the time the pool enters the courtroom they will have forgotten it,” he said.

Existence of G20 protest law was uncovered after York student’s arrest

Public knowledge of Regulation 233/10 emerged only after York University master’s student Dave Vasey was arrested on June 24 for failing to show police identification, wrote Rosie DiManno in The Toronto Star Dec. 10 in a column about the fallout from police actions during the G20 protests in June. Vasey, like so many others, had been merely following the advice given out in advance by civil liberties and advocacy groups, who’d provided on primer for protesters on the common law.

Over that weekend, 1,105 people were arrested, the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, most under breach of the peace authority. Seven hundred would be released without charge; another 315 had their charges later stayed or dropped. Even Vasey, when he attended court, discovered there was no record of his charge under the confounded, controversial Public Works Protection Act, a police spokesman afterwards stating the documentation was “lost in the mail.”

York researcher charged in child porn probe dies

A day after Richard Dyde’s charges in an international child porn probe were made public the York University researcher has died, University spokesperson Alex Bilyk confirmed Thursday, wrote the Toronto Star Dec. 10. Broadcast media reports later said Dyde committed suicide.

On air

  • Fred Lazar, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about drivers in Thunder Bay who travel to Fort William to get special gas prices intended only for First Nations peoples, on CBC Radio Thunder Bay Dec. 9.
  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about proposals for a perimeter security agreement with the US government that would prevent restrictions on cross-border trade, on Rogers Media radio stations across Canada Dec. 9.
  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about the launch of a rocket by the private company Space Tourism Society, on CTV News Dec. 9.
  • Rob Kozinets, professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about disruptions of VISA and MasterCard websites following the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder, on CBC TV News Dec. 9.
  • Barbro Ciakudia, the daughter of Congolese refugees and an international studies student at Glendon College, spoke about how profits from the sale of minerals used in cellphones and personal music players are used to finance violence in the Congo, on CBC Radio Dec. 9.