Supreme Court of Canada decision allows victim to maintain anonymity
Click here to read the response from the grade four and five students at Westglen School in Edmonton, AB.
HALIFAX, NS September 27, 2012 – The following is a joint statement from Michelle Awad and Jane O’Neill with the law firm McInnes Cooper and legal counsel to A.B. in the Supreme Court of Canada case A.B. v. Bragg Communications Inc. To view the Supreme Court of Canada decision, visit http://scc.lexum.org/en/2012/2012scc46/2012scc46.html.
“We are very pleased with the Supreme Court of Canada decision. This is a groundbreaking decision that will provide further guidance and help define the role of the courts in protecting children from cyber-bullying and from being further victimized when they seek redress through the legal process.
The decision recognizes the inherent vulnerability of children in our court system and the devastating and far-reaching effects of cyber-bullying. With social media, cyber bullies are only limited by the extent of their imagination and their cyber-weapon of choice. After today, these bullies will no longer remain anonymous.
Our client has already suffered harm and her family wanted to make sure their daughter, and other children in similar circumstances, aren’t further victimized. We now have a clearer direction from the court. And today our client, if she chooses, can maintain her anonymity while she obtains information about the identity of the creator of the fake Facebook profile.
The balance between the protection of children and the media’s right to report on court proceedings was at the heart of this case. With this decision, the Court has struck the right balance. The media knows all it needs to know in order to effectively report on the court proceedings. Knowing this young girl’s name adds nothing to the story.
In the age of the internet, where a bullied child’s online shadow will have both an immediate and long-lasting effect on her, she can now seek relief from the courts without having to make her humiliation complete.
We are in the process of discussing next steps with our client and will keep you apprised as we move forward.”
Understanding the impact of cyber-bullying and the need for a clear direction from the Supreme Court of Canada, McInnes Cooper provided legal counsel during the Supreme Court of Canada hearing on a pro bono basis.