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VOCA: CAS Ashamed of itself

Date: APR-21-01
Source: Dufferin VOCA
Keywords: judicial secrecy, free speech
Posted: MAR-08-03
Childrens Aid Society Index

CAS ashamed of itself

April 21, 2001

John and Jane Doe formerly had a complete transcript of their child protection case posted on the internet with their own cooperation. Dufferin VOCA had a link to it.

Section S.45(8) of the Child and Family Services Act says: No person shall publish or make public information that has the effect of identifying a child who is a witness at or a participant in a hearing or the subject of a proceeding, or the child's parent or foster parent or a member of the child's family.

On April 10, 2001 CAS moved to find the Does in contempt, attaching much of the Dufferin VOCA website as exhibits. CAS lawyer David Thwaites agreed to postpone the contempt motion long enough for preparation of a defense, but on the scheduled motion date, April 18, he insisted on proceeding anyway. Dufferin VOCA intervened on less than an hour's notice. Mr Thwaites was determined to bring a quaisi-criminal action against the Does, even without evidence that they created the internet site. We were ready to assert the right of free speech, but not willing to risk jail for the Does. On April 20, the Doe transcript was removed from the internet.

CAS fears exposure of their own court statements, resorting to twisting a law guarding family privacy into a club against free speech. Dufferin VOCA will continue to expose the actions of Children's Aid.

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