G20 activist's bail conditions violate free-speech rights: CAJ

OTTAWA (Oct. 18, 2010) - The Canadian Association of Journalists is adding its voice to the chorus of those saying an Ontario Justice of the Peace's bail conditions go too far.

The bail conditions set by Justice of the Peace Inderpaul Chandhoke on Alex Hundert, an alleged ringleader of G20 protests in June, include a ban on taking part in, organizing or attending any public event where political views are expressed. Included in the bail conditions is also a ban on speaking to the media while Hundert is out on bail awaiting the continuation of his court hearings on three charges of conspiracy.

"Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including the freedom of the press, are fundamental constitutional rights," CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch said. "While having some rights restricted while on bail is a reasonable expectation, for the court to strip Mr. Hundert of these particular rights while on bail sets a dangerous precedent that should concern all Canadians."

The CAJ is concerned these bail conditions could be requested by the Crown in other cases and end up being copied by other Justices of the Peace, leading to a pattern where one of our most important freedoms as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is eroded, one judgment at a time.

The CAJ is Canada's largest professional organization for journalists from all media, representing about 800 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for members and public-interest advocacy.

 

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