Bernstein Says SCC Likely to Strike a Balance in Vice Case

May 22, 2018

Partner and Litigation and Dispute Resolution head Andrew Bernstein has told BBC News the Supreme Court will likely “strike a balance” rather than “clearly take a side” when it hears Vice Media Canada Inc., et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada on May 23.

The case looks at a journalist’s refusal to hand over his notes and communications with Canadian terror suspect who left Canada to join the ISIS.

Andrew told BBC News the whole case will be a balancing act among a number a factors, including the potential effect on press freedom, the existing legal framework around press freedom, as well as the fact that the journalist in question never promised the source confidentiality.

"The whole thing is a balancing test and the question is - what's going to go in the balance?" he said.

A small excerpt from the article is below:

Still, if the information was already public as suggested, the RCMP wouldn't have to force Vice to produce it, he says.

"I always worry a little bit whenever you hear law enforcement say: 'Yes, we needed to go to extraordinary lengths to get this but it wasn't really private,'" he said.

Bernstein also raised questions as to whether Shirdon will ever stand trial on the terror charges.

"There's reason to believe he's a dangerous individual," said Bernstein.

"The flipside of this is of course that he's a dangerous individual in the Middle East somewhere, and if he's still alive the likelihood of bringing him to trial in Canada seems pretty remote."

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


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