Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Blue Maple Leaf Launches Pre-Emptive Strike in the Court of Public Opinion

The contempt of court charges for breaching the Gomery Inquiry’s publication ban have not yet been laid. Already Canadian bloggers are winning over the hearts and minds of the public with a pre-emptive strike in the media. The Following David Schmeichel article was published in today’s Winnipeg Sun.

The public's right to know outweighs the AdScam inquiry's right to keep testimony secret, according to a Winnipeg man who's been using his Internet site to breach a court-imposed publication ban. Michael Napier runs a blog site called The Blue Maple Leaf, where he's been posting excerpts of AdScam testimony Canadians haven't been able to see or hear anywhere else.

Justice John Gomery imposed a ban on the testimony weeks ago to ensure a fair trial -- and an untainted jury pool -- for key sponsorship figures who'll appear in court on related criminal charges in the coming months.

Despite Gomery's orders, the outlawed words soon turned up on a website operated by a Minnesota resident, and bloggers in Canada quickly posted links to the American site on their own pages. A few Canadians, like Napier, have also published testimony on their sites.


"I can understand a restriction or a publication ban on something like the Paul Bernardo case, because I don't think the public's right to know the salacious details of how a 14-year-old girl got raped, supersede ... the public's right to have (Bernardo) tried and put away," Napier said. "In this case, the Canadian public is that 14-year-old girl ... and I think everyone needs to know how badly we were raped by the corrupt Liberal government."

Justice spokesman Patrick Charette has said federal lawyers are looking into the sites, warning those found to be breaching the ban could be issued warning letters or charged with contempt of court.

Napier isn't worried. "He (Charette) keeps ratcheting up the rhetoric of who he's going to prosecute, but so far, nothing has happened," Napier said. "I'm not even sure how they'd get a hold of some of us."

The Blue Maple Leaf was also mentioned in this Stephanie Rubec article on Tuesday in the Toronto Sun. It was also printed in the Ottawa Sun.

CANADA'S attorney general is probing possible breaches of a publication ban set up to protect explosive testimony at the AdScam inquiry. Justice spokesman Patrick Charette said federal lawyers are looking into the Internet sites reproducing excerpts of Montreal ad exec Jean Brault's testimony and providing a link to a U.S. blog featuring more extensive coverage of the hearing.

"We have to decide what the best course of action is," Charette said, adding federal lawyers could charge Canadian bloggers and website owners with contempt of court or suggest AdScam Justice John Gomery issue warning letters.


"It's a discussion that will take place between Justice lawyers and the Gomery commission," Charette said.

Website owners and bloggers began thumbing their nose at the publication ban on the weekend. A U.S. right-wing blogger posted the first accounts of Brault's testimony on Saturday and Canadian bloggers have followed suit.

Winnipeg blogger Michael Napier said the threat of being hauled into court to face contempt charges won't cause him to pull the testimony excerpts from his site. Since he posted the information, traffic on his site has doubled. "Does the right of one person override the right of 32 million people?" Napier asked.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are winning this one.


At 12:04 p.m., Blogger darcey said...



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