NL Gazette

Publication ban persists on the name of N.L. attorney accused of sexual assault

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • Identity to stay secret pending appeal to have nation’s top court think anonymity arguments.
  • A Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge has opened a publication embargo on the name of a lawyer in the region accused of sexual assault, at least for now.

A Newfoundland and Labrador lawyer facing accusations of sexual assault and sexual interference has secured an extension of a publication embargo protecting his name from being reported about those criminal proceedings.

Justice James Adams gave the order at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s on Friday.

Before in the week, Adams led the embargo would be lifted.

“His active interests amounted to no more than individual and professional humiliation and potential loss of business,” the judge wrote in his decision.

“These problems did not meet the high bar of including an important public interest to which court exposure would pose a serious risk.”

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Justice James Adams gave the order at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s on Friday

The man instantly filed for a stay of that order while he sought leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada — a process that could take weeks or months.

Scott Hutchison — a partner with Toronto-based Henein Hutchison LLP, representing the Newfoundland lawyer — said keeping the ban, for now, is a “fair imposition” so the “machinery of justice can complete its work.”

He said publication of the man’s name now would do irreparable damage.

“It will be impossible to set the genie back in the bottle,” Hutchison told the court.

The high-profile legal unit representing the charged lawyer has regional lawyers Jerome Kennedy and Rosellen Sullivan.

CBC News and CTV News interfered in the case, successfully claiming the ban would interfere with the open-court principle and freedom of the press.

The media outlets contested the application to open the publication ban.

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