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P.E.I. Crown stays charges against CBC in alleged breach of publication ban case

The P.E.I. CBC office in Charlottetown in December 2021. A P.E.I. Crown attorney has stayed charges against the CBC after the public broadcaster had been accused of breaching a publication ban. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)
The P.E.I. CBC office in Charlottetown in December 2021. A P.E.I. Crown attorney has stayed charges against the CBC after the public broadcaster had been accused of breaching a publication ban. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)

A P.E.I. Crown attorney has stayed charges against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) after the public broadcaster had been accused of breaching a publication ban.

In a court document dated Feb. 21, Senior Crown Attorney Lisa Goulden directed the provincial court that proceedings be stayed against the CBC, which had been charged with disobeying a court order.

Last December, the RCMP in P.E.I released a statement that it had laid the charge against CBC P.E.I. news journalist Jesara Sinclair following an investigation related to the publication of a news article.

Although the RCMP had initially laid the charge against Sinclair, those charges were stayed, and in January, the CBC itself was charged and became the defendant in the case.

The RCMP accused the CBC of disobeying a court order directing that any information that could identify "the victim or witness shall not be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way," according to a court document.

The RCMP did not specify where the article was published, or in what form. According to the news release, the article was published on Nov. 8, which prompted a complaint. The subsequent investigation began on Nov. 14.

A charge being stayed means legal proceedings are paused temporarily or indefinitely, and in most cases, stayed charges result in no further action.

Chuck Thompson, a spokesperson for CBC, said the public broadcaster was pleased with the outcome.

Editor's Note: This story was written by a reporter in Toronto to ensure editorial distance from the newsroom involved in the case.