Public broadcaster convicted
Lawyer ponders appeal

by P.J. Harston
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 13/96) - The nation's public broadcaster has been convicted of breaking a court order that prohibits identifying a sexual assault victim.

But the CBC, which argued the ban was unwarranted because the victim is dead, won't be sentenced until Nov. 26, when it appears in court on a second ban-breaking charge.

"The issue is whether or not (the ban) survives the death of a person protected," territorial court judge Michel Bourassa said Tuesday.

He described the CBC actions as "deliberate" and "knowingly," and said it broke a court order that is found in "clear, unambiguous law," one that is "expressly allowed by the criminal code."

The order was made last year by territorial court judge Thomas Davis and was repeated in February during a Supreme Court trial.

CBC North Radio first broadcast the victim's name last March during a radio broadcast about the Maurice Cloughley trial.

Cloughley, a former NWT teacher, pleaded guilty to several sexual assault charges in February and was sentenced to a decade in prison.

Mounties laid the charge in June. The CBC was charged again this fall with breaking the ban in June, after the first charge had been laid.

Defence lawyer Gerry McLaren said outside the courtroom a decision to appeal Bourassa's judgment has yet to be made.

Prior to handing down his decision, Bourassa chastised McLaren for saying he was prepared to appeal the case, even before Bourassa passed judgment.

"I think that's bad form," said Bourassa, suggesting that such a statement could be considered a form of intimidation.