Lawyer for Shawn Brant incredulous after publication ban reinstated
TORONTO — The lawyer for a protester at the centre of a court proceeding
stemming from the blockade of Highway 401 during last summer's aboriginal
day of action said Friday he was incredulous after Crown lawyers
successfully reinstated a publication ban on his client's preliminary
Shawn Brant was arrested and charged with a variety of offences following
the incidents of June 29, 2007, when he and other First Nations protesters
blocked Canada's busiest highway as well as the CN Rail corridor between
Toronto and Montreal near Deseronto, Ont.
Brant's lawyer Peter Rosenthal called a news conference Friday in hopes of
adding to details that were made public earlier in the day when a judge in
Napanee, Ont., lifted a publication ban on his client's preliminary hearing.
However, the ban was reinstated later Friday when the Ontario Court of
Appeal granted a temporary stay of the decision to lift it.
"It's quite amazing, the lengths to which the Crown is going to stop the
public from finding out what happened at that preliminary inquiry,"
Media outlets that had been carrying details previously covered by the ban
were forced to withdraw their coverage when it was reinstated by a judge
Rosenthal said there was no indication in Napanee court that the Crown would
seek to delay the lifting of the publication ban.
He also said media outlets were informed before he was that the publication
ban was back on.
"One would have thought that if (the Crown) could notify the media of that,
they could have sent me a notice of that as well," he said.
Rosenthal said his client waived his right to a publication ban in the
hearing, but the Crown argued it was required for a fair trial.
"In my view there is no merit to any claim that it is protecting a fair
trial," Rosenthal said.
He went on to say it's obvious the Crown did not want details of the
preliminary hearing to be made public.
"The reason to suppress it is because they're concerned about what will come
out of the transcripts," Rosenthal said. "That's the only possible reason to
An official with Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General said the
temporary stay is in effect until Wednesday, when the Appeal Court will hear
a full stay application from the Crown.