Call Us Now

Blog

Judge Takes Rare Step Of Letting Cameras Inside Courtroom

Posted On: January, 18 2019

Court delays made headlines again recently, after Justice Peter Daley addressed the “facilities crisis” facing the Ontario Superior Court in Brampton, where it can take up to eight months to hear a civil or family matter and even longer for a criminal matter.

Justice Daley focused his remarks on the provincial government, which he said is not doing its part to find a solution to the problems surrounding the lack of court space and funding.

Reporting on this issue was also made easier by the fact that Justice Daley took the rare step of allowing cameras inside the courtroom before the official proceedings began Monday morning. No need for a courtroom sketch artist. Instead, major newspapers printed photos of the judge seated behind the bench.

Why doesn’t this happen more often?

In Ontario, there is ban on taking photos or recording audio or video inside a courtroom. It is also illegal to film or record anyone coming or going from the courtroom or inside the courthouse if it’s reasonable to believe that the person is there for a hearing.

Ignoring this rule can result in a fine of up to $25,000 or up to six months in jail—or both, according to section 136(4) of the Courts of Justice Act, the provincial legislation that governs court proceedings.

At a time when taking photos and videos on devices is commonplace, these harsh penalties seem outdated.

And it may be that judges recognize as much, since courts are not quick to fine someone or punish them with jail time for breaking the rule. Instead, after learning about the prohibited recording taken either at a courtroom or courthouse, judges are more inclined to order that the recording immediately stop, and the content deleted.

One example is the case Shekhdar v Beard Winter LLP, 2015 ONSC 7191, where Justice Diamond of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto discovered that the plaintiff had recorded a prior proceeding held before a Master. Justice Diamond wrote that he trusted the plaintiff would delete the recordings and “remove any references or links to those recordings off the internet.”

A judge can provide his or her authorization to provide an exemption to the camera ban if doing so meets one of the purposes included in section 136(3) of the Courts of Justice Act, one of which is educational or instructional purposes. For example, Justice Daley allowed reporters inside the courtroom in Brampton because of the “broad public interest at stake in these issues.”

In the future, it will be interesting to see what other types of situations judges decide meet the criteria of allowing photos and recording audio or video to be taken inside a courtroom.

 

No feedback yet

Leave a comment


Your email address will not be revealed on this site.
BadExcellent
(For my next comment on this site)
(Allow users to contact me through a message form -- Your email will not be revealed!)

Contact Us

RECENT NEWS & EVENTS

5 STAR REVIEWS

  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by SB

    "I just wanted to let you know how happy I am with the outcome and how very grateful I am for the guidance and support that you and your team provided.
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Google user

    "Patrick James is really a great lawyer who is smart and great to deal with. He's been our litigation counsel for over 5 years on several different matters. Patrick recently gave our company great strategic advice that resulted in a big commercial litigation win for our company. He's fierce, tenacious, and really cares about getting the best outcome for his clients."
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Google user

    "Patrick is a very good lawyer. He recently successfully defended a lawsuit against my company and has pursued several litigation claims for us in the past. All claims settled input favour. Mr. James is smart and quickly gives you great strategic advice. Patrick has been a real asset to our business."
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Sandra L.

    "Andrew Wray and Patrick James recently helped settle a difficult situation for me and my family. The results were exactly what we were hoping for. They are honest, strategic and will provide you with the best advice for you and your financial situation. I highly recommend them to everyone I know."
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Mark C.

    "Their team is highly focused and incredibly professional - from our experience it would be difficult not to believe that Pinto Wray James are one of Ontario's leading Firms in Labor and Employment law. The mindful client care and complete understanding of the case eased fears and the stress that comes with any legal dispute. Expect to find high level smartly crafted legal solutions at Pinto Wray James LLP - couldn't recommend more."
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Sherry C.

    "Patrick is knowledgeable, strategic, supportive, and patient. His guidance and advice helped me to maintain focus and to keep things in perspective. His experience and keen perception provides him with an edge that allows him to assess the situation, the people involved, and to offer a strategic resolution that works best for all involved. If you ever require legal advice and assistance, I highly recommend him and his team. They will be there 100% for you."
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Christian V.

    "Patrick is a fearless advocate for diverse clients. His strategic approach, and his empathy, are what set him apart as a litigator, and champion of the underdog."
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by A Google User

    "I have no hesitation recommending Andrew Wray of Pinto Wray James LLP. He provided me with legal advice regarding an employment law issue and his council was practical and honest. Andrew's approach is very much one of blending legal excellence with good common sense. An excellent lawyer!"
  • Rating: 5 Lawyer Toronto - 5 Star Reviews
    Pinto James Reviewed by Larry S.

    "Patrick listens to his clients and shows compassion, empathy and professionalism. He cares deeply that the individual that has been wrongfully terminated gets the best judgment available to him. I would not hesitate in recommending him to friends or family."
Submit