NL’s lawyer’s id uncovered in sexual harassment case, apex courtroom won’t hear bid for anonymity


The id of Newfoundland lawyer Robert Common has been veiled after Canada’s Supreme Courtroom on Thursday refused to listen to an enchantment that may enable him to proceed his title from publication.

To this point, Common, 70, is thought solely by the initials RR at Courtroom Dock in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He’s going through 4 counts of sexual assault and 4 counts of sexual interference, involving the identical alleged sufferer. She was 12 when she was first attacked 20 years in the past.

Three expenses had been leveled in opposition to Common in June 2021. The opposite two expenses had been filed in January.

Final 12 months, Common was granted an interim ban within the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Courtroom to stop his title from being revealed in reference to these legal proceedings.

CBC Information and CTV Information intervened, arguing that the ban would intrude with the open-court doctrine and freedom of the press.

NL decide cautions in opposition to ‘sea change’ in legal regulation

In March, Justice James Adams sided with media organizations.

Adams dominated that banning the publication can be opposite to the open-court precept and would change the regulation throughout Canada.

“If a publication ban had been to be issued on this case, nearly anybody charged with a legal offense might declare equal safety,” the decide wrote in his ruling.

“This may be a significant change in legal regulation. The suitable authority for such a change is Parliament, not the courts.”

Adams discovered that routine presumption of innocence shouldn’t be in danger if no publication ban is granted.

“In defending the fame of the applicant by inserting restrictions on the id of the applicant, the courtroom will critically have an effect on the general public curiosity in encouraging individuals with related details about related allegations to come back ahead,” Adams wrote in its ruling.

“It might additionally negatively have an effect on the general public’s curiosity in seeing that each one individuals charged with legal offenses are handled pretty and equally.”

The decide lifted the ban on Common’s title, however stayed the choice pending Common’s bid to listen to the case within the Supreme Courtroom of Canada.

Common is being represented by well-known St. John’s attorneys Roselan Sullivan and Jerome Kennedy, in addition to Scott Hutchison of Toronto-based high-profile regulation agency Henin Hutchison LLP.

They argued that the discharge of normal identities threatens the innocence, privateness and fame of different professionals of their subject.

The legal professionals argued that publication of his title would trigger everlasting harm to the common, even when he was not responsible.

“The mixed impact of an Web that by no means forgets and the present potential of social media to amplify irrelevant, inaccurate or outdated data can’t be overstated,” he wrote within the software to the courtroom.

The Supreme Courtroom of Canada declined to listen to the arguments of Common, who wished his title to be banned from publication. (Patrick Morrell / CBC)

Common has labored in regulation for greater than three a long time as an legal professional in Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula.

The Regulation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has sanctioned him 5 instances for the reason that early Nineteen Nineties for a sequence of profession-related misconduct—none of which had been legal in nature.

Common agreed that the ban may very well be lifted if he was finally convicted.

Victims of sexual assault are routinely protected by a publication ban on their id because of the nature of the crime.

Nevertheless, the accused shouldn’t be shielded from such restriction until there’s a want to cover the id of the sufferer.

The trial is chosen by the common decide and jury. The seven-day trial is about to start on Could 29, 2023 on the Supreme Courtroom of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Learn extra from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador



Supply hyperlink