16 January 16, 2007
Witnesses at the inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of systemic child sexual abuse in the Cornwall, Ont., area can name their alleged abusers, even if they have been found innocent, Ontario’s highest court ruled Tuesday.
Inquiry commissioner Normand Glaude had turned down a request by the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall that publication of the name of one of its employees be banned in relation to evidence given at the inquiry.
The diocese contended that as the employee’s innocence had been established in the criminal proceedings, his reputational and privacy interests outweighed any deleterious effects the ban would have on the parties and the public.
The Ontario Court of Appeal noted in its ruling that “there may be an element of unfairness in permitting publication of his identity.”
The inquiry witness’s evidence “regrettably does pose a risk that the employee’s reputation may be damaged,” the justices wrote.
However, the commissioner’s conclusion in favour of openness wasn’t unreasonable “on the particular facts before him, particularly in view of his core mandate to help heal a community long-troubled by allegations of conspiracy, secrecy, and cover-up,” the decision said.
The diocese had argued that the commission could accomplish its task even if the requested publication ban were granted.
Glaude, in denying the ban, said the employee’s name “is relevant when considering the interconnectedness of persons, particularly given the allegations of conspiracy that surround the facts giving rise to this inquiry.”
The high court agreed, saying it was not persuaded that his finding was unreasonable.
The diocese also argued that Glaude failed to give adequate weight to the employee’s innocence.
“As the allegations against the employee had already been publicized in the community, the commissioner concluded that with appropriate emphasis upon the acquittal and by expunging reference to the details of the allegations, the impact of disclosure of the employee’s name could be minimized,” the court noted.
Glaude “applied the appropriate legal test in assessing the request for a publication ban,” the court concluded.
All parties agreed that the court’s decision should be stayed for 10 days from the date of its release.
Diocese Employee’s Name Not Protected
Cornwall News AM 1220
January 30, 2007 — An employee with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall will not have his name protected at the Cornwall Public Inquiry. Lawyers for the church have given up their fight to have a publication ban on the name of one of its priests. In 2001, Rene Dube, was acquitted of sexual abuse charges. Last year, diocese lawyers asked Commissioner, Normand Glaude, for a ban but the request was denied. Diocese lawyers went to the Ontario Divisional Court but the panel upheld Glaude’s decision. The Ontario Court of Appeal also dismissed the request. A 10 day stay was put in place to allow for further legal action but that time frame has now passed. Therefore, Dube’s name will not be protected by a ban.