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Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

The implications and ramifications of Conrad Black’s trial were further extended when the The Globe and Mail went before the Ontario Court of Appeal yesterday. The Globe argued that an order signed by Mr. Justice Colin Campbell sealing any and all documents pertaining to the so called Mareva injunction (which froze Black’s assets) violated the constitutional right to free expression. In sum, the Globe wanted to review these documents so that it could argue before the court the public’s right to know what was in them. Sealing the documents prevented the paper from being able to even make an argument. Writing in this morning’s Globe, Kirk Makin summarized the situation thusly:

“[The Globe] argued yesterday that, regardless of the fact that Lord Black has since been convicted in a U.S. court of several fraud-related charges, the sealing order was a setback to press rights which cries out for correction. Edward Greenspan, a lawyer for Lord Black, countered that the sealing order was essential to prevent U.S. prosecutors from improperly obtaining information that they could use against Lord Black at his criminal trial. Mr. Greenspan added that Lord Black had no choice but to respond to the Hollinger attempt to freeze his assets, since a freeze would have crippled his ability to defend himself at his trial. ‘But he needed a protection order so that it doesn’t get into the hands of the Americans,’ Mr. Greenspan said. ‘Then, all of a sudden, someone challenges it.’Seen in that light, Mr. Greenspan argued, Judge Campbell did the right thing by imposing a sealing order to protect Lord Black from potentially incriminating himself.”

In other words, Black is arguing that his right not to incriminate himself trumps the right to free expression. It’s as if McCarthy had stood before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and sung “The Internationale.”

Press rights were violated, Globe lawyer argues [Globe and Mail]

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