Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Cameras return to court room today at 2 p.m.

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A Winnipeg drug and weapons docket is set to be broadcast live from court this afternoon.

Members of the public will get a glimpse inside the provincial hearings as part of a unique pilot project. There are currently seven cases scheduled for hearing, beginning at 2 p.m.

Crown and defence lawyers are slated to make submissions about sentences in all cases, although it's possible some could be adjourned.

We will live stream the proceedings beginning at 2 p.m.

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Another Manitoba Court of Appeal hearing has also been set for broadcast. Dakota Smoke was convicted of impaired driving causing death and bodily harm following a trial last year. He was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison.

Smoke is now fighting the sentence, claiming it is harsh and excessive. Lawyers are set to make arguments May 30 beginning at 9:30 a.m. The hearing, which is expected to last about two hours, will be broadcast live.

Last month, an Appeal Court hearing for convicted triple-murderer Denis Jérome Labossière was done with cameras in the courtroom. The high court reserved its decision in that case.

As well, a Queen's Bench murder verdict was done on camera last month as the very first case of the pilot project, which will see all three levels of Manitoba courts (provincial, Queen's Bench and Court of Appeal) select cases for broadcast.

The chief judges of their respective courts have heralded the pilot project as a "baby step" aimed at increasing public access to justice and overall transparency in how the court system works.

The top judges will evaluate the project over the coming months to see if it's meeting its goals. In the meantime, it remains open to the media to bring legal applications forward to have a camera in cases they deem worthy of their attention.


Updated on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 2:01 PM CDT: Live video player added.

2:53 PM: Adds error note.

3:01 PM: Technical difficulties resolved.

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