A provincial court judge on Wednesday denied a request to prohibit media from reporting the name of one of five people charged with violating New Brunswick's COVID-19 rules at a protest in Moncton.
The request was made by Ontario lawyer Joshua Halpern, who is representing Bathurst residents Nicholas DeAngelis, 34, and 31-year-old Britney Green.
DeAngelis and Green were arrested and charged following the Jan. 24 protest outside Moncton city hall. Both were scheduled to appear in Moncton provincial court Wednesday to enter pleas on the charges they face.
Neither were present, but were represented by Halpern, who appeared by phone.
"I'd like to request a publication ban on this file," Halpern told Provincial Judge Brigitte Volpé after she read the charges against DeAngelis.
Publication bans are standard for the names of victims of sexual crimes and for those under 18 facing charges, but the names of adults charged are public record because of the open court principle.
Prosecutor opposed request
"I understand there's been a lot of media attention around this and he feels he's being harassed by the media," Halpern said.
The defence lawyer sought the ban based on a section of the criminal code that allows barring names of witnesses and victims of crime at the request of a Crown prosecutor.
Crown prosecutor Maurice Blanchard opposed the request, saying he didn't believe such a ban would be allowed.
"Unless I'm mistaken, your client is the accused, not a victim here," the judge said.
"Not a victim, but he is a witness as well as being an accused," Halpern said.
"The section under which you're [requesting the ban], in my opinion, doesn't permit me to do that," Volpé said, adding Halpern could file an application seeking such a ban and a hearing would need to be held to consider the request.
DeAngelis faces criminal charges of causing a disturbance at a Superstore in Moncton by screaming, mischief by interfering with the use of property, and resisting two police officers on Dec. 31, 2020.
DeAngelis is alleged to have violated the province's Emergency Measures Act on Dec. 31 by not wearing a mask, not wearing a mask in Shediac on Jan. 22 and Jan. 24 by taking part in a gathering of more than five people while not physically distanced and not wearing a mask.
Green faces similar criminal charges.
It's also alleged she violated the Emergency Measures Act on Dec. 31 by not wearing a mask and Jan. 24 by taking part in a gathering of more than five people while not physically distanced and not wearing a mask.
Halpern requested an adjournment so he can get disclosure of the Crown's evidence. He's scheduled to appear in court by phone on April 21.
Jonathan Rossiter, 29, of Nackawic, Dawn Teakles, 49, of Moncton, and David Robert West, 54, of Riverview were also charged following the protest outside city hall.
Teakles returns to court March 22, while West is scheduled to appear April 6.
An arrest warrant was issued for Rossiter after he missed a court appearance in February.