Edmonton judge bans story after publication

By Karen Kleiss, edmontonjournal.com
June 10, 2009

EDMONTON – An Edmonton judge has ruled that court records made public Wednesday morning in the first-degree murder case against Joseph Laboucan are in fact protected by a publication ban.

The decision, issued shortly after 3 p.m., means a news story based on the records that was published five hours earlier on The Journal’s website, edmontonjournal.com, was effectively unpublished.

Provincial Court Judge James Wheatley said the Criminal Code bans publication of evidence that comes before the court during a preliminary hearing. That ban, he said, applies to the unsealed court records because another judge ordered the ban into effect at an earlier court appearance.

“Just because something is part of the public record does not prevent it from being subject to a publication ban,” Wheatley said. “For clarity, the publication ban imposed … April 9, 2009 is in place.”

The documents — hundreds of pages of court records — contained extensive details about the steps police took in their investigation into the murder of Ellie May Meyer, a city sex trade worker found raped and bludgeoned to death on May 6, 2005.

Laboucan has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death. He was also convicted in 2008 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault in the death of 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte, but the conviction was quashed on appeal and a new trial was ordered.

kkleiss@thejournal.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Original at Edmonton Journal

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