Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Manitoba broadcasts first court proceeding

Historic pilot project starts this afternoon

  • Print

Manitobans can get a glimpse today of what goes on in their provincial courtrooms without having to step foot in one.

For the first time ever, a Manitoba court proceeding will be recorded for broadcast to the public as part of a long-awaited push to place cameras in courtrooms.

Tuesday, the chief judges of all three levels of Manitoba's courts heralded the pilot project as a "baby step" aimed at increasing public access to justice and overall transparency in how the court system works.

"Courts must be open to the public," said Court of Appeal Chief Justice Richard Chartier, repeating the democratic axiom twice for emphasis. "Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done."

A media camera in courtroom 230 at 1 p.m. today will record Court of Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice Shane Perlmutter giving his reasons for his decision on the guilt or innocence of a woman accused of fatally stabbing her husband in 2011.

The Free Press will live stream the event on its website, winnipegfreepress.com.

Cassandra Knott, 30, is accused of second-degree murder for killing her abusive common-law spouse, Orzias Joram Knott, 34, inside a downtown apartment. She has pleaded not guilty on the grounds she was defending herself and never meant to kill him.

There was nothing deliberate about the choice of Knott's case as the first, other than the camera-in-court initiative had to start somewhere, Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal said.

"If the process is properly handled, I think it will show that in the warm light of day that the court... works in a way that's consistent with access to justice," Joyal said.

The camera will focus solely on Perlmutter delivering his decision. No other images -- say of Knott or the lawyers involved -- are being contemplated for broadcast and no submissions are expected to happen, said Joyal.

The next case to be broadcast will come April 30 as the Court of Appeal hears a convicted murderer's bid for a retrial in the deaths of his parents and brother. A provincial court proceeding is still being selected.

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, Joyal said.

It's possible that down the road one courtroom at each level of the court system would become so-called "presumptive" venues, where it's just expected cases there will be captured on camera, Joyal said.

It's not currently being contemplated that these rooms would hear trials or proceedings where witness testimony is being heard.

The Court of Appeal seldom, if ever, takes testimony from witnesses but often hears cases of major public interest and consequence.

Likely, camera-friendly rooms in Queen's Bench and provincial court would spotlight cases where lawyers are presenting arguments or judges are delivering decisions.

Parties would still be allowed to object to the case being broadcast, Joyal said, but the underlying principle is cameras are allowed.

"I think you may get less opposition than you would expect if this operation proceeds with the type of civility and organization and type of purpose that we want," Joyal said.

The final say would always fall to the presiding judge.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2014 A3

History

Updated on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM CDT: Adds livestream from courtroom.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Body pulled from river is missing 15-year-old girl

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new Blue Bombers uniforms?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google