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Attorney General Launches Media And Justice Panel To Strengthen Public Trust In The Justice System

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Attorney General Launches Media And Justice Panel To Strengthen Public Trust In The Justice System

Civil Justice Reform Also Supported

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- The McGuinty government intends to bridge the gap between the media and the justice system by creating a panel to discuss areas of mutual concern, Attorney General Michael Bryant announced at the annual Opening of the Courts ceremony today.

"We have a legal system inherited from the 18th century operating in the media spotlight of the 21st century," said Bryant. "I am bringing members of the media and participants in the justice system together in an ongoing forum to create better mutual understanding."

The Attorney General's Panel on Justice and the Media will include Justice James MacPherson of the Ontario Court of Appeal; Paul Lindsay, Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Law Division; Ralph Steinberg, President of the Criminal Lawyers Association; Chief Paul Hamelin, President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police; John Honderich, former publisher of the Toronto Star, and Carole Taylor, Chair of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Historically, the media and the courts have existed as two solitudes. Not every reporter understands the justice system, and even fewer lawyers and judges understand how a newsroom works," said Bryant. "I have asked our new panel to suggest ideas for improving understanding between the media and the justice system."

The panel is expected to provide suggestions and guidelines that can be widely applied to the justice system and the media.

Bryant also stated his support for modernizing the justice system, including increasing the flexibility of civil court processes.

"Ontario is a diverse place," said Bryant. "We have different kinds of communities and different types of litigants. There is a need for flexibility in civil courts to reflect those differences."

The McGuinty government is committed to creating a justice system that is second to none. "Ontarians deserve a system that delivers justice, is readily accessible, is well understood, and earns public confidence," said Bryant.

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