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Courtroom Recording Permitted

November 12, 2010 permalink

Charles Michael Wheeler, mentioned here in September, has been acquitted of charges for using a recording device in his own court case. While the reporter writes as if Mr Wheeler was excused for technical reasons, recording in the courtroom by a party is an act specifically permitted by Ontario law though hated by judges.



Recording in court charge tossed

A 44-year-old Guelph man charged with using a recording device in a local courtroom had the charge withdrawn Wednesday.

Assistant Crown attorney James Boonstra withdrew the charge against Charles Michael Wheeler because of a procedural error.

"Mr. Wheeler was initially arrested and released by police," Boonstra told the court. "That is not a proper process."

Following court, the Crown told The Chatham Daily News using a recording device in court is not an "arrestable offence."

He said he had to throw out the charge because "without the proper process, the accused isn't validly before the court."

Wheeler was not in the courtroom Wednesday when the charge was dismissed; he couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

According to previous reports, Wheeler was in provincial offences court on Sept. 14 to contest a charge of disobeying a stop sign.

He brought a video camera with the intention of using it to make an audio recording of the proceedings.

In a previous interview, Wheeler said he placed the video camera on a table in the courtroom and turned the power on, but it wasn't recording.

He planned to ask for permission to use it but was told by the municipal prosecutor to turn it off.

"He was requested several times, by the Crown and Justice of the Peace, to cease recording," Sgt. Gary Conn said Wednesday. "He refused to comply at which time the prosecutor directed our officer to arrest him."

He said the actions of the officer were reasonable given the circumstances and Wheeler was arrested "in good faith."

Conn added the Crown has jurisdictional control over whether it proceeds with charges.

Source: Chatham Daily News