Attorney General Forms Justice-Media Liaison Committee



    Brings Together Judiciary, Media, Legal And Police Organizations And
    Ministry Reps

    TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - Attorney General Michael Bryant has announced
the creation of the Justice-Media Liaison Committee to improve interaction
between the news media and the justice system, as recommended by the Panel on
Justice and the Media.
    "I am very pleased to bring together representatives from the judiciary,
media, police and legal communities and the ministry to work together on
justice-media issues," said Bryant. "The establishment of this committee
fulfills one of the recommendations made by the Panel on Justice and the
Media, and will enhance the ongoing relationship between media and the justice
system."
    In its August 2006 report, the Panel on Justice and the Media made 17
recommendations on ways to improve mutual understanding between the justice
system and the media. One of those recommendations was to establish a
committee to facilitate communication, education and problem solving.
    The committee's mandate includes providing expertise and advice on
justice-media issues, giving feedback on draft proposals and public education
materials, helping to develop protocols and identifying systemic issues that
affect justice system-media interaction.

    
    The Justice-Media Liaison Committee members are:
    -   Sue Sgambati, veteran crime journalist from Court TV Canada
    -   Dianne Wood, justice and courts reporter for the Kitchener-Waterloo
        Record
    -   The Honourable Justice Russell Juriansz of the Ontario Court of
        Appeal
    -   The Honourable Justice James Carnwath of the Superior Court of
        Justice
    -   The Honourable Justice Joseph A. De Filippis of the Ontario Court of
        Justice
    -   Chief Paul Hamelin of the Midland Police Service, a former president
        of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
    -   Hilary Linton, a Toronto lawyer and mediator, representing the
        Ontario Bar Association
    -   Thomas G. Conway, a civil and commercial litigation lawyer in Ottawa,
        representing the County and District Law Presidents' Association
    -   Ralph Steinberg, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer, representing the
        Criminal Lawyers' Association
    -   Elizabeth Bucci, counsel in the Ministry of the Attorney General's
        Courts Services Division, who will serve as committee chair
    -   Michal Fairburn, counsel in the ministry's Criminal Law Division
    -   Ellie Sadinsky, director of the ministry's Communications Branch

    The McGuinty government has already implemented many of the panel's
recommendations, including:

    -   establishing an agreement with Chief Justice Roy McMurtry to launch a
        pilot project to bring cameras to the Court of Appeal
    -   appointing a media contact person in every courthouse across the
        province
    -   creating a new justice-media section of its website, which includes
        resources and useful links.

    "We have already made significant progress implementing the panel's
recommendations," said Bryant. "I look forward to making further changes to
improve the way the media and justice sectors interact and understand each
other."


    Disponible en français

                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       PANEL ON JUSTICE AND THE MEDIA
    

    The McGuinty government continues to make progress implementing the
recommendations of the Panel on Justice and the Media. Today's announcement of
the establishment of a Justice-Media Liaison Committee is the latest step
forward.

    Background

    Attorney General Michael Bryant established the Panel on Justice and the
Media in January 2005. It brought together representatives of the media and
justice sectors to recommend ways to improve understanding between the media
and the justice system. The panel held discussions and received public input
through written submissions and meetings, and also studied best practices from
other jurisdictions.
    Its August 2006 report contained 17 recommendations in the areas of
openness, education, working in the electronic age and the ongoing
relationship between justice and the media.

    Status of Recommendations

    When the panel's final report was received in August, the Ministry of the
Attorney General immediately began implementing recommendations that fell
under its jurisdiction:

    
    -   Each court location in the province now has a designated media
        contact person to provide information and service to journalists, and
        to facilitate access to documents and courtrooms.

    -   The ministry, the Advocates' Society, Legal Aid Ontario and the
        Radio-Television News Directors Association have formed a working
        group to develop learning material for professional organizations on
        justice-media topics.

    -   The Ontario Justice Education Network is getting support from the
        ministry to develop learning modules for high-school civics and law
        students.

    -   A new "Media Resources" section is now part of the ministry's
        website. This section contains an online media guide, links to
        dockets and judgements, where available, information about all levels
        of courts, as well as information providing greater clarity about the
        sub judice rule that governs what journalists can and cannot publish
        before and during a trial.

    -   The Attorney General and Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry have
        agreed to a pilot program to put cameras in the Ontario Court of
        Appeal. An implementation team is now working out details, including
        when the cameras will be up and running.

    Implementation of other recommendations, including increasing access to
court records and outreach to postsecondary institutions and high school
students, is underway.


    Disponible en français

                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Greg Crone, Ministry of the Attorney General,
Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210

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