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Landmark Case: Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp (Freedom of Expression, the Right to a Fair Trial, and the Charter)

Each OJEN Landmark Case includes a case summary, classroom discussion questions and worksheets that encourage students to explore both the legal and societal importance of the case.

Following the arrests of the four men, but before the completion of their trials, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the National Film Board (NFB) attempted to air a docudrama, entitled “The Boys of St. Vincent,” which was inspired by events in Newfoundland similar to those allegedly committed by the Brothers. On a motion brought by defence counsel, the lower court judge ruled that the airing of “The Boys of St. Vincent” could violate the rights of the four men to have a fair trial as protected by section 11(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that it was therefore banned from being aired until the end of the criminal trials. The CBC and the NFB appealed the lower court decision arguing the ban violated the right to freedom of expression enshrined in section 2(b) of the Charter. The full decision is available here.

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