Beginning with introductions from Blair Rhodes
Rhodes: Provincial prosecutors are not as bad to work with as federal
youth court is so secret that in Ontario the initials are used. In other provinces not even the initials of the youth.
People find youth court not sexy because no one wants to report on anonymous sources says Bruser
so much of court is not full
Certain details are not revealed unless you sit through the entire case.
"There is an assumption that journalists cannot be trusted to use information carefully"
The courts hired a witness to discredit Bruser
how do you find out where a youth offender is if you need to get a hold of them?"
Rhodes: Nova Scotia its pretty easy with the limited youth centers
Youth cases often involve many aspects that the public pays for yet the courts won't appear open in this seemingly "public" information.
in youth court context: the public pays for everything that is used in the process of sentencing a youth offender. So why is the public denied the information?
Rhodes: 50 % of court reporting is not in the courtroom..it's in the periphery.
You don't want a criminal lawyer, media lawyers are most useful for these situations.
Sometimes judges are wrong in their decisions. Bruser talks about a case where a youth was sentenced as an adult, allowing the name to be released -- despite the judges initial disagreement.
many judges do not know (or choose to ignore) the law and make wrongful decisions regarding youth cases
Tips for finding good court stories?
Bruser: There's so much going on, if you have time sit in court for a couple days.
Q: What if your not in the court everyday?
Rhodes: There are times when journalists need to tell judges that they are wrong about the media law.
Q: Your experience with quasi- judicial systems?
A: secretive, no transparency.
it is harder than the courts
Take away message:
Be persistent, dont assume they know more than you. Be prepared to fight and keep fighting says Rhodes.
Do not give up, be persistent. do not assume that people know more than you do. FIGHT
It is important to be professional but be aggressive too, or else the court people will walk over you
Thanks for tuning in. The session is now ending.