Webcasting Of Court Proceedings Begins Today



    Pilot Project Increases Public Access To The Justice System

    TORONTO, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - Starting today, some Ontario Court of Appeal
proceedings will be webcast, recorded and available to the media as part of a
pilot project, announced Attorney General Michael Bryant.
    "We are giving the public a front row seat in the Court of Appeal," said
Bryant. "Webcasting court proceedings and providing same-day copies to the
news media on DVD will increase the openness and transparency of our justice
system, giving everyone a better look at the people, procedures and processes
in our courtrooms."
    Certain proceedings in Courtroom No. 1 at the Court of Appeal will be
recorded and streamed live on the Court's Internet website at
www.ontariocourts.on.ca/appeal.htm. DVD copies of recorded proceedings will be
distributed to accredited media twice per day on request. They will also be
available for use by journalism and law schools and other organizations for
educational and training purposes. An audio feed box for reporters is
available if audio recordings of proceedings are required. Recorded
proceedings will be archived on the Court's website for 90 days to ensure
round-the-clock public access.
    While cameras in the courtroom are generally prohibited under Ontario
law, they are permitted for educational or instructional purposes, with
approval from the presiding judge and consent from the parties and witnesses
to the proceeding.
    "I would like to commend the Attorney General on his progress
implementing the use of cameras in the Court of Appeal," said Patrick Monahan,
Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School. "The government has come a long way in
opening up the justice system to media and the public."
    "Staff at the Court of Appeal and the ministry have been working towards
this launch for months," said Bryant. "I would like to thank all parties and
counsel who agreed to having their appeals recorded during the testing phase.
Their cooperation and patience, along with that of the judges of the Court of
Appeal, were essential to the development of this pilot project. Particular
credit goes to Chief Justice Winkler for seeing this project through."
    For more information on how to access DVD copies of proceedings, members
of the media may contact Lauralee Bielert, Counsel, Court of Appeal for
Ontario at lauralee.bielert@jus.gov.on.ca. Information on the schedule for
recording cases will be available weekly on the Court's website at
www.ontariocourts.on.ca/appeal.htm.
    The pilot project responds to a recommendation made by the Panel on
Justice and the Media. In its August 2006 report, the Panel made 17
recommendations on ways to improve mutual understanding between the justice
system and the media. The McGuinty government is taking action on all
recommendations and has already:

    
    -   Significantly cut the fees charged to view and photocopy case files
        in all provincially-administered courts
    -   Formed a Justice-Media Liaison Committee to bring together
        representatives from the judiciary, media, police, the legal
        community and the ministry to work together on justice-media issues
        as they arise
    -   Engaged in the development of learning materials for justice and
        media professionals and for high school students
    -   Created a justice-media section on the ministry's website, which
        includes information on resources and useful links
    -   Posted an updated staff directive on the ministry's policies and
        procedures governing access to court files, documents and exhibits on
        the ministry's website for media and the public
    -   Provided copies free of charge of informations, indictments and
        judicial interim release papers requested by accused persons and
        their counsel.

    Disponible en français

                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210

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