Thursday, 17 May 2018 09:33

Judge rules journalists can do their job and be safe

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Editor:


Recently, an Edmonton based magistrate upheld the Canadian Charter of Rights media liberties regarding a 2017 assault against a female Alberta reporter at a January 21st Women’s March.
In a 9-page finding, Judge G. W. (Gordon) Sharek ruled the 35 year old assailant James Dion Bews was guilty of assault and battery rewarding journalist Sheila Gunn Reid of Rebel Media $3,500 in damages. In his report, no doubt existed through evidence of video tape, eye witnesses, etc. Mr. Bews crossed the line while Gunn Reid was peacefully carrying out her duties as a broadcaster.
 Citing various case laws, Judge Sharek concluded “The fundamental freedom of the media as provided for in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that the media shall have the freedom to report and provide opinion with respect to such public events as the 2017 Women’s March. 
To seek to curtail the media’s right to report and opine on the event, such as the Defendant Bews did here, was unacceptable and his resort to physical violence against a member of the media qualifies as “high handed, malicious, arbitrary, or highly reprehensible misconduct that departs to a marked degree from ordinary standards of decent behavior” was so clear, even several the mainstream media outlets carried the story whatever they may think of Rebel Media.
Let’s face it, when we’re all in the “same boat”, the fake news wars suddenly take a back seat when all feel the same threat.
While Sheila Gunn Reid didn’t get all the damages sought and Bews criminal charges were eventually conditionally discharged with 30 hours of community work, we should all be thankful for this precedent setting ruling. This not only protects the media doing their job but guarantees readers like you and me to access the stories.
As a result, Ezra Levant owner of The Rebel has claimed the website www.dionbews.ca which not only highlights the details of this case but uses Bews own name (like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlett Letter) to remind him for life of his crimes against free speech for Canadians. Bravo! Get this story out and tweet Sheila a big “thanks” https://twitter.com/SheilaGunnReid as I’m sure it was hard on her young family considering she carried this over 15 months before getting justice May 10th, 2018.
Neel Roberts, Alberta

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