The curtain has been lifted for the identity of Newfoundland lawyer Robert Regular after Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal that would allow him to continue protecting his name from publication.
Until now, Regular, 70, was known only by the initials RR
He faces four charges of assault and one of sexual interference, involving the same alleged victim. She was 12 when she was first attacked 20 years ago.
Three of the charges were filed against Regular in June 2021. The other two charges were filed in January.
Last year, Regular was suspended in the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court to prevent his name from being published in connection with those criminal proceedings.
TSWT News and CTV News intervened, arguing that the ban would violate the open-court principle and freedom of the press.
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In March, Judge James Adams sided with the media organizations.
Adams ruled that granting the publication ban would violate the open-court principle and change the law across Canada.
“If a publication ban were imposed in this case, almost anyone charged with a criminal offense could claim the same protection,” the judge wrote in its ruling.
“This would be a sea change in criminal law. The competent authority to make such a change is Parliament, not the court.”
Adams felt that Regular’s presumption of innocence would not be jeopardized if a publication ban was not granted.
“By protecting the applicant’s reputation by issuing a ban on his identity, the court would seriously affect the public interest in encouraging individuals with relevant information about similar allegations to come forward,” Adams wrote in his statement. decision.
“It would also negatively affect the public interest to ensure that all persons charged with criminal offenses are treated fairly and equally.”
The judge lifted the ban on Regular’s name, but reserved that decision pending Regular’s request to hear the case from the Supreme Court of Canada.
Regular is represented by noted St. John’s attorneys Rosellen Sullivan and Jerome Kennedy, as well as Scott Hutchison of the leading Toronto law firm Henein Hutchison LLP.
They argued that releasing Regular’s identity jeopardized his presumption of innocence, privacy and the reputation of other professionals in his field.
The lawyers argued that publishing his name would cause Regular permanent harm, even if he was found not guilty.
“The combined effect of an internet that never forgets and the current ability of social media to amplify irrelevant, inaccurate or outdated information cannot be overstated,” they wrote in the petition to the court.
Regular has practiced law in Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula for more than three decades.
The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has sanctioned him five times since the early 1990s for a range of misconduct related to the profession – none of which were criminal in nature.
Regular had agreed that the ban could be lifted if he is ultimately convicted.
Due to the nature of the crime, victims of sexual violence are automatically protected by a publication ban on their identity.
However, the suspect is not protected by such a prohibition unless it is necessary to disguise the identity of the victim.
Regular has a trial chosen by judge and jury. On May 29, 2023, a seven-day trial begins in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
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