Freedom of the press from unreasonable search and seizure: Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Manitoba (A.G.) et al., 2009 MBCA 122

A rececent Manitoba Court of Appeal decision raised interesting issues of freedom of the press from unreasonable search and seizure.

An accused was charged with assaulting his sister and assaulting a police officer.  The latter assault resulted in two shots being fired at the accused, who advanced on the officer with what later proved to be a table leg.

Though the accused refused to provide a statement to the police, a press conference was later held at which he gave interviews.

A production order issued by a Provincial Court judge required the media outlets to hand over recordings from the press conference to authorities.  CTV and CBC responded with a writ of certiorari seeking to quash the production orders.

The reviewing judge held that the orders constituted an unreasonable search of a media organization pursuant to s. 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The production orders were quashed.

The decision was upheld by the Manitoba Court of Appeal.