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May 26 2016

Restrict Online Access to Court Cases not Resulting in Conviction, B.C. Judge Says

"The chief judge of the Provincial Court says online access to cases in which a person was not convicted of a crime should be limited, a blow to media outlets that argued the court and its records should be as open as possible. Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree announced a consultation regarding an online database, known as Court Services Online. In a post-consultation memorandum posted to the Provincial Court website, Judge Crabtree says a person who has not been convicted should not be exposed to stigma. He said information regarding acquittals, dismissals and withdrawals will only be available through Court Services Online (CSO) in the 30 days after the information is entered. He said online access to cases involving stays of proceedings will cease one year after entry, and information regarding peace bonds will be unavailable once the peace bond has expired. Dale Bass, the B.C. and Yukon representative for the Canadian Association of Journalists, said the organization believes journalists ""should have open access to this at any time."""