New media allowed in courtroom, with conditions

Reporters won the right in an Ottawa trial to blog and text during the trial of the Ottawa mayor accused of influence peddling (he has pleaded not guilty and the trial goes before a judge only.) The judge accepted the media’s arguments that it’s not much different than a reporter leaving a trial to phone in an update to the desk. However, he declined a media request to broadcast the trial, saying that he would not not have allowed new media at all if there had been a jury present (not sure why). Meanwhile, before media go nuts saying this sets a great precedent, please remember that a precedent is not binding on future cases; it can only be used in arguments. The theory is that every case is unique and must be judged on its merits. And just as one lawyer can cite a precedent on behalf of his case, another lawyer will cite different precedents from his side.

Globe and Mail, May 4 2009

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