Andrew Bernstein Discusses Impact Vice Case Could Have on Future Freedom of Expression Issues

May 28, 2018

Partner and Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice head Andrew Bernstein has spoken with Canadian Lawyer on the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in Vice Media Canada Inc., et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada saying the decision could have significant impact on future issues of free expression.

The case dates back to 2014 where a Vice Media reporter published articles on his communications with a Canadian terror suspect and his involvement with the ISIS. It revolves around a dispute over press freedom and when documents should be handed over to the state.

Bernstein told Canadian Lawyer that this case could signify how the new Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner addresses freedom of expression, specifically, because the former chief Justice Beverly McLachlin was a strong supporter for such issues.

“There haven’t been any free expression issues under the new chief justice and so it will be interesting to see what happens,” he said.

A small excerpt from the article is below.

Bernstein points out that Vice and the government are “telling a very different story” about how they see orders being dealt with.

“Vice is saying any time the police want an order they get one, and there is not really an effective limiting mechanism. The government is saying that’s not true at all and here are examples of places where you haven’t received these orders.”

There is also an interesting twist in that the U.S. military indicated last fall that Shirdon was killed in a coalition airstrike in Iraq in 2015.

“What makes this case also somewhat unique is there is an open question of whether this individual will ever, if he is still alive, see the inside of a Canadian courtroom,” says Bernstein.

You can learn more about Torys’ Litigation and Dispute Resolution, and Appeals  practice by heading to the relevant practice pages.


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