Freedom of the press a right? As it turns out–yes

The prosecution presented its case against John Hueston and Brett Hueston of The Aylmer Express in the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Thomas, Wednesday, Aug. 15, alleging the two journalists obstructed Ontario Provincial Police by refusing to obey orders to stop taking pictures and leave the scene of a fatal car’s plunge into Lake Erie on June 24, 2017.

Two Ontario Provincial Police officers, including Elgin OPP Commander Inspector Brad Fishleigh, insisted under questioning from defence lawyer Gord Cudmore that while “freedom of expression” was protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “freedom of the press” wasn’t enshrined in that document, and had limits.

However, after Insp. Fishleigh concluded his testimony, Judge Glen Donald read from the Charter, and it specifically mentioned “freedom of the press and other media of communications” as being protected.

He also noted that he offered that information for the public’s education, and doing so was not an indication that he had already decided the case.

The prosecution rested its case at the end of the day, and the trial is to resume with the defence on Monday, Sept. 10, at 9:30 p.m.

Complete coverage in the Aug. 22 Express.

  • Freedom to express an opinion is everyone’s right. What the opinion is… can determine the correctness of the “opiner” and the publics opinion of her|him

  • Your Aylmer Express Journalists should be applauded for their efforts to bring the details of tragedies to the public independent to the official news releases provided by police. It is absolutely paramount that this independent reporting exist in a democratic society.
    Specific the case at hand, the information provided by the police about how the deceased came to drive off the cliff at the end of Springfield Road was confusing at best as the timing of the reported events did not appear to match the laws of physics. For that reason alone it was crucial that the Aylmer Express Journalists be at hand to observe the police operations so that an independent reporting of the facts was provided. In a scenario where it was not clear whether police played a role in chasing the deceased’s vehicle the police could not be viewed as independent parties and may have been found responsible for the consequence. In that vein the independent reporting of the tragedy was absolutely crucial. Beyond that, Google Maps views of the site indicated that a mandatory Checkerboard sign (WA-8) sign was required for the end of the road but did not appear to exist. Without proper notification that the road was ending a driver could drive off a cliff in the reported manner. Whether that sign had been installed prior to the tragedy was something that should have been revealed. If it had not been installed then it was clearly material evidence in determining how and why the tragedy occurred.