The media reports crimes that occur in all provinces, and there are no legal protections in Canada that protect you from having your name and certain facts about an alleged criminal charge listed in newspapers or on television.
Having to deal with the usually unfavorable outcomes stemming from a publicly damaged reputation can be difficult, especially if you are also facing criminal charges. Having a team of skilled lawyers on your side can help you navigate how to address the media and how to move forward after you have been charged with a sexual assault.
Can I Request a Publication Ban?
A court can order a publication ban that limits what media outlets may or may not publish. For example, an accused is entitled to request a publication ban regarding evidence that is presented by the crown at a preliminary hearing.
The crown is also allowed to request a publication ban to protect the identity of minors, the alleged victim or to limit the dissemination of evidence regarding a sexual offence.
Unfortunately, if you have been charged with sexual assault or another type of sexual crime, a publication ban may not help. Courts will usually issue these bans to protect those who complained of being the victim of a sexual crime.
Furthermore, publication bans do not generally prevent the media from reporting about the actual trial of an alleged sexual crime. The media can be limited in what they can say about a case in its pre-trial phase (for example, at the preliminary hearing), but if the case proceeds to a trial, the media can generally report on all of the evidence presented during the trial and the outcome of the case. The only exception at the trial is that a publication ban will prevent the media from publishing the name of the complainant or any evidence which would lead to potentially revealing the name of the complainant.
How Can I Correct the Media’s Mistakes If I am Found Not Guilty?
It is most unfair to have your reputation tarnished for a crime you did not commit. While those most important to you know of your innocence, facing the lasting consequences of a published allegation can be difficult.
It is important to note that not all cases are necessarily thrust into the media spotlight. As soon as you have been charged with a criminal offence, you should speak with a lawyer to figure out a strategy regarding how to handle any media involvement. In cases that resolve quickly, the media will have less time to learn about details of the alleged offence.
After your case is over, and the charges were withdrawn or you were found not guilty in a court, there might be other legal options for you to consider against media outlets who incorrectly portrayed you.
Contact a Lawyer
Sexual assaults or other crimes of a sexual nature usually carry harsh penalties, including lengthy jail terms if you are convicted. While it is natural to worry about what others and what the media might say about you, it is critically important that you understand your rights and that you have an advocate on your side.
The lawyers at the Kruse Law Firm have extensive experience and expertise representing people charged with sexual offences and can help you navigate the complexities of the Canadian criminal justice system. Contact our legal team today to discuss the details of your case and how the professionals at the Kruse Law Firm can help you move forward.