Extension of Publication Ban Denied in Facebook Bullying Case

5 May

On Monday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal issued a procedural judgement in the A.B. v. Bragg Communications Inc. matter that may affect its path to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The matter is about a whether a 15-year-old girl who has taken issue with an individual who created a fake and allegedly defamatory Facebook profile in her name can sue anonymously. On March 4th, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal denied her this right but continued the in-place publication ban to preserve the girl’s right of appeal. The ban was set to lapse at the end of yesterday, May 3rd.

In Monday’s judgement Justice Beveridge held that he had no jurisdiction to extend the publication ban because an application for leave had not yet been filed and he had no basis for finding that a miscarriage of justice would result from failing to grant the requested order. The girl argued that the potential appeal would be moot without the requested relief, but Justice Beveridge was doubtful, without evidence, that her identity would become known.

The media has now covered Monday’s ruling, apparently without naming the girl. I assume her identity is known amongst reporters who have covered this story, and speculate they are declining to publish it based on ethical considerations. If so, they should be applauded. The matter should be resolved on a less technical basis than represented by this latest judgement.

A.B. v. Bragg Communications Inc., 2011 NSCA 38 (CanLII).

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