From The WFP:

Former junior hockey coach Graham James quietly wrapped up his high-profile bail hearing last week when lawyers set out the conditions of his release.

James is believed to have been released from the downtown Winnipeg Remand Centre late Friday and flown to Montreal, where he will be allowed to live pending his trial on sex abuse charges…

It was set to resume Monday afternoon, but lawyers brought the matter forward last Friday.

James’ name didn’t appear on the public docket that day, meaning the media and public weren’t aware of it.

From the Sun:

Graham James has been released from jail and is living in Montreal.

The disgraced former junior hockey coach and scout was quietly released Friday afternoon following an appearance before a justice of the peace.

From CBC:

James, 58, was to have had his bail conditions made final in court Monday, but documents indicate that a justice of the peace actually signed off on his release late Friday afternoon…

The judge said he first wanted to hear from the Crown and the defence, and both sides were expected to deliver their submissions Friday. The date for the bail hearing was then set for Monday. For some reason, however, the decision took place Friday.

From CTV:

Convicted sex offender Graham James was given his bail conditions by a provincial court judge this past Friday.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Monday morning. It’s not clear why it was moved ahead.

[For some reason my linking button is not working — but you know where to look for more…]

Sweeping publication ban, hearings held in the background, public not notified.

An ‘I told you so:’ This case has now officially fallen into the black hole of the Manitoba justice system.

To be revisited 2-3 years from now.

6 thoughts on “Your ‘open’ justice system

  1. I must say there’s been times I’ve Brought Forward matters to avoid media exposure. Client’s best interests often involve anonymity. The crown may have preferred to have the matter tried in the court and not the media.

    Judge Pollack is not a soft spoken judge, and does not often hold his tongue. I expect Mr. James would have been released- I was actually surprised the crown opposed on this case, as there really was no strong legal argument that could be made for keeping him in custody.

    The crown agreed to consent to Mr. James’ release, which means the matter doesn’t need to go back before a judge- it can easily be done by paperwork.

  2. “I was actually surprised the crown opposed on this case, as there really was no strong legal argument that could be made for keeping him in custody.”

    If there was no strong legal argument that could be made to keep custody of a man who travels frequently and pled guilty to 350 counts of the same offence, then it’s time to change the laws.

  3. What makes me angry isn’t the fact that Graham James was granted bail (as to my knowledge, there was a lack of evidence indicating any re-offending or violations and therefore, no reason to hold him in custody). It is the lack of transparency in our justice system about decisions such as these. The public (and the media) should have been aware of this decision and the conditions of James’ release, when it happened, not after the fact. This hearing should have been a public matter. Great blog post!

  4. Why should a bail hearing be a public matter? There’s no evidence presented at a bail hearing. Why do they need to know what conditions he is on? Bail conditions include things like an address- no reason for the public to know that.

    There is no positive obligation on the Justice system to tell the public what is going on.

    1. I totally disagree with you on this one. Openness when it comes to show cause hearings is vital. People have the right to know an accused killer’s (for example) being put back on the street, and under what restrictions.

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