Monday, April 4, 2005

Maple Leaf Revolution, v.4 - Free Speech

Recall that I linked to Captain's Quarters on some testimony covered by the "publication ban." It seems the freedom-of-speech police are rather piqued over the writings.


The proffered reason for the ban is potential prejudice to the jury pool in the May 2005 criminal trials: "Justice John Gomery grants a partial publication ban on the testimony of three key witnesses in the inquiry. Paul Coffin, Jean Brault and Chuck Guité are all facing criminal charges. Their lawyers have argued that publishing their testimony at the Gomery inquiry would taint potential jurors in the criminal trials, scheduled to begin in May."

Rumors abound (see CQ again) that the trial may be delayed until fall.

Regardless - where is the harm to national defense from disclosure of the testimony? Anything short is reaching too far.

Do you really have such a low opinion of your citizens, Justice Gomery, that you think you cannot find someone capable of determining guilt in a criminal matter based purely upon the evidence presented in court?

You think a ban in this matter won't reach to a ban in a similar matter in the future? Maybe when criminal charges are contemplated but not yet filed? Perhaps when criminal charges are possible, but not yet developed? Don't you see the door you are opening for future government intervention in free and open discourse?

Recall your logic in reaching this decision, Justice Gomery. You looked back over 300 years to a document (the English Bill of Rights) written by a group that killed the King (James II) and installed his daughter and her husband (Mary, William of Orange) (not that there's anything wrong with that). You relied upon admittedly off-point cases from another jurisdiction. And through this trail you choose to silence your citizens.

You need to revisit this issue, Justice Gomery. You can regulate speech, but not thought. Compelled silence leads to secretive talk. The world is too sophisticated for a publication ban to silence the voices.

Would you be professional enough to sit on the jury? Would you put aside all you have learned outside the courtroom and make a decision based purely upon the evidence presented at trial? So, then, are you that much better than your fellow citizens? I don't think you believe that, either.

Your government misbehaved. The issue requires a public airing. Now. Chuckie will get a fair trial. Have more faith in your fellow citizens.

Can't you feel the chilling effect on free speech?

Lift the ban. Let the country discuss its future.

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