Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let's not be arresting bloggers in Canada

Updated below.

There's a case going on in Fredericton, New Brunswick that deserves some attention: "Fredericton blogger's arrest attack on civil liberties." This blogger, Charles LeBlanc, who blogs here, was arrested last week on charges of criminal libel. His computer was seized in the course of a search warrant execution. Here's a good overview of the entire mess:

Note the legalities as described near the end of the video. I don't know how many online defamation suits there are in Canada at the moment but it is an extraordinary thing to be charged criminally for it and to have one's computer seized.

The Fredericton police and Crown deserve every scrutiny they get here.

P.S. Dude, lose the jacket.


Update: More on the law of criminal defamation, furthering the point on how rare the charge is.

Update II: Dr. Dawg had a post on this in September, writing about another recent charge of criminal libel emanating out of the G20. He sets out the principal criminal libel provision in the Criminal Code, section 298.

Note that in the case Dawg links to, the LeBlanc case above, and one other pointed out to me on Twitter this afternoon, there is a common thread. These rare cases where criminal libel charges have been issued all involve alleged defamation against police officers.