In reporting the information below I inadvertently missed the full scope of Justice Anne MacKenzie's publication ban order - it is far more sweeping than I realized, because what is online at the BC Supreme Court website is different than her actual order.
If you check the link here it leads to a PDF file online with the actual signed order - this is what it says:
"Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, no information about these proceedings including evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."
Note that there is no reference to "in the absence of the jury" as it says in the online Publication Ban section of the BC Supreme Court website I quoted below.
This is an extremely important - and I have no idea why the wording is different but clearly the reproduced order is the actual document, not the website summary.
What this means is that potentially no one could report on the trial of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi until it is over!!!
Certainly nothing can be reported until either after the trial is over - or untl Justice MacKenzie changes her order.
I regret relying on the website version - which you can see is quite different - than the actual publication ban.
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POSTING:
Justice Anne MacKenzie has imposed a publication ban on the media reporting certain aspects of the BC Legislature Raid case pending the trial of former BC Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi on corruption charges related to the $1 billion sale of BC Rail.
Here is the publication ban posted online at the BC Supreme Court website regarding David Basi - the other two are the same.
More on this later - if possible! SEE BELOW
Publication Ban Notification Project
Case Name:R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi
Order By: Supreme Court
Statute: , Other
Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court.
UPDATE 5 p.m. - If anything I am even more concerned about this publication ban, having considered the possible consequences and lack of clarity on what can and cannot be published - and make no mistake - online blogs are publications for all legal purposes.
Below is the section of the Criminal Code which Justice MacKenzie has used to implement the publication ban.
I continue to investigate exactly what this means, but pose these questions - for which I have no answers:
1) Can I write a speculative article on the trial - what the defence and Crown arguments will likely be given the pre-trial hearings to date?
2) If I learn new information about the role of a potential or actual witness in the trial can I publish it?
3) Why can't I publish "any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings" when they have previously been published widely?
4) How would I find out any of these answers short of getting a knock on the door by a police officer after breaking the ban?
No one wants to jeopardize the rights of the accused to a fair trial, no one want to influence the jury and no one wants to violate the efforts of the courts to ensure the trial is conducted appropriately.
But these fundamental questions and many more are troubling given the lack of information provided with this publication ban order.
Here is the Criminal Code section Justice MacKenzie cites above:
Criminal Code s.648 - Restriction on publication
(1) After permission to separate is given to members of a jury under subsection 647(1), no information regarding any portion of the trial at which the jury is not present shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way before the jury retires to consider its verdict.
(2) Every one who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.