At a hearing about a proposed publication ban related to the Witness Protection Program, the federal Crown lawyer threatened to charge me criminally if I submitted certain material to the court.

The proposed publication ban is related to the Randy Riley trial. On Thursday, a jury found Riley not guilty of murder.

I was representing myself at the hearing.

It was my intention to avoid disclosing or discussing the material in open court, so intended to instead submit the material to the judge to review. In preparation for that, I gave the material to the two Crown lawyers (one representing the federal Witness Protection Program and the other from the provincial Public Prosecution Service).

When he received the material, federal Crown lawyer Jan Jansen told me that mere possession of the material is a crime, and submitting it to the court would be a crime. As I understood him, that’s because the submission itself would become public information. I’m confused on this point, as the Crown itself is submitting a sealed document that the public will not be able to access, and I wanted to do the same.

Justice Josh Arnold suggested I obtain a lawyer, and I have. The matter comes back before the court on October 18.

An interim publication ban applies to much of the information discussed in court, so I will not further detail what happened.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. This will be very interesting to follow. Thank you for the intrigue. What could possibly cause such verbal gymnastics?

  2. I hope that Josh Arnold is as fair and reasonable as he appears to have been through the years.

    Thank you for doing such excellent work. Your approach was impeccable.
    Engaging a lawyer can be expensive, and we all know where the money is better spent. You might consider a gofundme for it comes to that. I’ve never run one, but I would definitely help if you needed it.

    The whole thing is actually making me cry right now. I didn’t think our democracy was this fragile.

  3. Thanks for everything you have reported on this trial.
    CBC finally had coverage of the verdict yesterday, but that is it.
    Please don’t do anything that would put yourself in jeopardy of any sort.