N.S. judge rejects publication ban in murder trial

SYDNEY, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia judge has refused to impose a publication ban on the first of two trials for a man accused in separate murders of young Cape Breton women.

See Full Article

In February 2013, police in Cape Breton charged Thomas Ted Barrett with second-degree murder in the deaths of Elizabeth MacKinnon and Laura Jessome in cases six years apart.

Both of the victims were 21 years old.

MacKinnon was last seen in early June 2006 and was reported missing on July 13th of that year. On November 21, 2008, local residents found her remains near a hiking trail on the outskirts of Glace Bay.

Jessome was last seen on May 2, 2012, in the New Aberdeen area of Glace Bay. Her remains were discovered May 25 in a hockey bag floating on the Mira River near Marion Bridge.

Barrett, of Glace Bay, was already in custody in Halifax when he was charged.

At the time, the chief of Cape Breton Regional Police said the investigation took police to jurisdictions across the country.

"This is stuff that we read about in other parts of the world," Peter McIsaac said. "It was horrific to our community to learn this kind of stuff."

Barrett's lawyer sought the publication ban because he was concerned media coverage of the first trial could influence jury deliberations in the second.

Judge Robin Gogan, in a decision released Friday, said she sought to balance Barrett's right to a fair trial and the public's right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the press.

Gogan concluded there is some risk to his fair trial, but she said the evidence fails to establish that it is a "real and substantial risk."

She noted the trials are scheduled to begin about nine months apart. His first, by judge alone, is scheduled for Jan. 18, and the second, to be heard by a jury, is set for Sept, 12, 2016.

"Further, I find that any risk created by the publication of the details of the first trial and the proximity to the second trial can be alleviated by the measures available," the decision says.

Gogan said that risk can be reduced at the second trial by the challenge-for-cause process, in which defence and Crown lawyers determine whether potential jurors have formed fixed opinions about the case, and by jury instruction.

A lawyer for the CBC and the Cape Breton Post argued the accused had not provided enough evidence to warrant a ban that would curtail the constitutional rights of the media and the public.

Four other men were also charged in the cases, three of them with being an accessory after the fact.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Duchess of Sussex reveals she had miscarriage in the summer

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The Duchess of Sussex has revealed that she had a miscarriage in July, giving a personal account of the traumatic experience in hope of helping others. Meghan described the miscarriage n an opinion piece in the New York Times on Wednesday. Source
  • 'These spaces are lifelines:' Nunavut lockdown leaves some with nowhere to go

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT -- Caribou stew simmers on a stove top while a staff member chops vegetables in an empty dining room, the sounds of his blade echoing off the walls as it hits the cutting board. This is the scene at Iqaluit's Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre from Sundays to Thursdays. Source
  • Hong Kong leader says restoring 'political system from chaos' is priority

    World News CBC News
    The Hong Kong government's priority is to "restore the political system from chaos," Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Wednesday in her annual policy address, which did not deliver blockbuster steps to boost the economy or ease a housing crisis. Source
  • EU is willing to be "creative" to get a Brexit trade deal

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- The European Union on Wednesday committed to be "creative" in the final stages of the Brexit trade negotiations but warned that whatever deal emerges, the United Kingdom will be reduced to "just a valued partner" far removed from its former membership status. Source
  • Au revoir 'America First': Biden team ditches Trump-style nationalism with foreign policy picks

    World News CBC News
    Let's cast a gaze forward to the first few days of Joe Biden's presidency for a glimpse at how dramatic a departure we're about to witness from the "America First" era. We know a fair bit now about Biden's incoming administration, based on his platform and on the slew of top foreign policy officials he introduced on Tuesday. Source
  • How Australia succeeded in lowering COVID-19 cases to near-zero

    World News CBC News
    Unlike other nations, including Canada, which have aimed to maintain new infections at a level that won't overwhelm the medical system, Australia set out to virtually eliminate the virus from its shores. When Australia was hit with a surge of COVID-19 cases in late July just weeks after declaring victory against the first wave, it prompted one of the world's longest lockdowns in Melbourne, for example, closing virtually everything that wasn't a grocery store or hospital for nearly four…
  • Small retailers push back against lockdown policy that favours big-box stores

    Canada News CBC News
    Small businesses in Toronto and Peel Region say it's not fair that they should be closed for in-person shopping while big-box stores can sell all manner of goods — from clothing to books to tech gadgets — if they happen to also sell essential products such as groceries. Source
  • What Canada's hardest-hit provinces can learn from those that handled COVID-19 best

    Canada News CBC News
    When epidemiologist Susan Kirkland opened a Halifax newspaper on Saturday, she was stunned. "Three protest rallies planned," the Chronicle Herald headline read, in part. "Oh, no," the head of public health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University thought to herself. Source
  • A surge in bitcoin in the COVID-19 era outshines gold, but can it last?

    Canada News CBC News
    A return of bitcoin to its stratospheric highs has top financial experts scratching their heads and cryptocurrency boosters saying I told you so. But while supporters insist that it's different this time as bitcoin heads back toward its all-time maximum in December 2017 — which at current exchange rates was somewhere around $26,000 Cdn — many fear that inexperienced speculators are again going to get their fingers badly burned. Source
  • Erin O'Toole's Conservatives are not immune from the struggles of pandemic-rattled premiers

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta is now one of Canada's worst COVID-19 hotspots and Premier Jason Kenney's handling of the pandemic in his province is getting low marks, according to polls. It might also be sapping support for the federal Conservative Party in its most loyal stronghold. Source