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.

Hockey fans gather around a burning trash can in the early hours of the Stanley Cup riot in downtown Vancouver June 15.

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

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

Salvation Army’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser in Salmon Arm welcomes you

Make community connections while taking a walk and contributing to $35,000 goal

Letter: South Shuswap incorporation a foregone conclusion?

Writer overwhelmed with information at committee meeting

Snapshot: Valentine’s donations to Shuswap organizations

Shuswap SPCA, SAFE Society receive some love from SASCU Insurance

Sniffing out options for expansion of Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant

Public presented with nine site possibilities at open house, feedback to help narrow options

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

Wild weekend results in pair of losses for Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Away games ahead before Feb. 23 contest versus Cents at Shaw Centre

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Sicamous Eagles’ playoff hopes dashed by Storm

Kamloops team wins 7-4 in Feb. 14 contest

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Most Read