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LFP: Publication ban ordered at Church of God hearing

Date: MAY-28-02
Source: London Free press
Keywords: corporal punishment, medical neglect
Posted: JUN-03-02
Aylmer Case Index

by Jonathan Sher

Publication ban ordered at Church of God hearing

Canadian media filled a small courtroom in St. Thomas yesterday, but walked away almost empty handed after a judge ordered a preliminary publication ban at a hearing to determine the custody of seven children with Aylmer's Church of God. While Justice Eleanor Schnall of the Ontario Court of Justice must eventually decide if the children should be removed from their home, yesterday she considered another issue -- to what extent the media would be allowed to report what occurs at trial.

Addressing that issue were lawyers representing the media, the family and Family and Children Services.

Their arguments and even their positions will not be reported, ordered Schnall, while she considers the matter.

Schnall didn't expect to make a ruling until 10 a.m. today at the earliest.

Family and Children Services allege the parents used excessive corporal punishment and medically neglected the children.

Church leaders have defended their reliance on faith rather than doctors and their use of foreign objects to strike their children.

The Free Press has uncovered deaths of children at sister churches that prompted investigations in Manitoba and California and a book that instructs parents to beat children as young as six months with a rod.

The Aylmer children, who can't be named because of a court order, went home July 26 after their parents agreed not to strike or medically neglect them until the dispute with Family and Children Services ended.

The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

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