A publication ban prohibits the publication of the name – or picture – of the girl killed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary in November 2016.

Black Press Media challenges publication ban on name of B.C. school stabbing victim

Victim’s family feels ‘muzzled’ by ban implemented by BC Review Board without consultation

The media should be able to identify the girl killed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary two years ago, Black Press Media has argued in an application sent to the BC Review Board.

The application, which was sent last week by the Abbotsford News, has been welcomed by a representative for the girl’s family, who have said through a spokesperson that they feel the ban limits their ability to share their daughter’s story. The News has not applied to lift a publication ban in effect on the identity of a second person wounded at the school.

The two students were stabbed in November 2016. Their attacker was quickly identified and arrested, but has since been declared unfit to stand trial by the BC Review Board. A publication ban was placed without notice on the murder victim’s name when the case moved from criminal court to the Review Board, which periodically reconsiders whether the accused is fit to stand trial.

In the application, which was sent by reporter Tyler Olsen and crafted with the assistance of legal counsel, The News argues that the ban contravenes the “open court principle” that presupposes courtrooms should be open to the public and information reportable.

Under the principle, courts should be open to the public unless doing so would jeopardize administration of justice or compromise the rights of the interested parties and public.

“While publication bans are sometimes necessary, it’s important that the media fight to uphold the open court principle,” Ken Goudswaard, the editor of The News said. “That principle allows the public to better understand their justice system, and the media to hold accountable those involved in the process.”

There is no such reason to ban publication of the victim’s name, and no application was made to institute the ban in the first place, the News argued, pointing to legal precedent.

The application also argues that the BC Review Board doesn’t have jurisdiction to institute publication bans on the identity of victims and that, even if it did, it had an obligation to give media outlets advanced knowledge that it intended to implement such a prohibition.

Finally, The News notes that a publication ban on a victim’s name inevitably shifts the focus of news coverage towards the accused. At the same time, media scholars and victim rights groups have argued in recent years that coverage of mass-casualty events like school shootings should focus on victims, rather than the perpetrators. Widespread use of publication bans, The News argues, would make such an approach difficult, if not impossible.

The application was welcomed by Dave Teixeira, who has been acting as a spokesperson for the family. In September, he said the publication ban was “muzzling” the girl’s parents, who dislike the fact that coverage of the case has been dominated by the name of the accused, rather than that of their daughter.

RELATED: Advocate for Abbotsford victim’s family blasts ‘secretive’ B.C. Review Board

RELATED: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing found unfit to stand trial


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

Hundreds of foreign species still washing up on B.C. coast, eight years after tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

The City of Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read