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Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

[1994] 3 S.C.R. 835 (Can.) (1994)

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Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Canada Supreme Court

[1994] 3 S.C.R. 835 (Can.) (1994)

Facts

Certain Catholic schoolteachers belonging to a religious group called the Christian Brothers were charged with physically and sexually abusing young male students. Four members of the Christian Brothers (plaintiffs) were scheduled for consecutive individual trials. During the first trial, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (defendant) promoted a new fictional miniseries to be broadcast across Canada that focused on the abuse of children in Catholic institutions. The jury was set to be charged by the court on December 7. The first two hours of the CBC program were planned to be broadcast on the evening of December 6, and the final two hours were to be shown on the evening of December 7. On December 3, defense counsel requested that the jury be either charged early or sequestered over the weekend to prevent the jury from viewing any of the broadcasts. The judge told the jury not to watch the miniseries over the weekend but did not charge or sequester it as defense counsel requested. On December 4, defense counsel sought an interlocutory injunction from a judge on the Ontario Court of Justice, which was granted on December 5. The injunction prohibited CBC from broadcasting the program anywhere in Canada until the trials of the four defendants concluded. CBC appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lamer, C.J.)

Dissent (Gonthier, J.)

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