The front page story of today’s Globe & Mail (print) newspaper read “Woman at centre of scandal breaks silence“; referring to the complainant who stepped forward in the sexual assault lawsuit against Hockey Canada and some players.
More interesting were the comments from the personal injury lawyer who says “in watching the coverage of his client’s complaint it has been frustrating to see misinformation circulate that she did not cooperate with police.”
It’s really hard to read about stories in the print media, when they don’t have access to all of the information and yet they report on it as if they do. It’s not in the best interest of any lawyer to litigate a case through the media. In fact, if sensitive information about a case gets out into the public before the case has resolved, it will likely jeopardize and tarnish the outcome of the case entirely.
Assaults, and sexual assault cases often get reported in the media. We hear it all the time, and tend to cast judgment based on the reporting itself, or based on our own predisposed beliefs.
Unfortunately, the reporters and their news outlets often get things wrong. Or perhaps its the Twitter Trolls or amateur internet commentators in the comment sections who just don’t get it.
It happened to our office and to one of our client’s. In a highly publicized case out of Peterborough, our client was assaulted at Riley’s Pub downtown. The bouncers were so aggressive that they broke our client’s leg/ankle. Our client sought medical assistance from the police.
Instead, the three officers referred to the man as a “pussy,” a “douche,” a “drunk idiot,” told him to “walk it off” and told him to take a cab to the hospital where he was eventually treated for the serious leg injury, investigators found. An independent police review has found “evidence of misconduct” involving two Peterborough-Lakefield police officers and a department sergeant.
The complaint against the officers eventually settled outside of the formal Tribunal.
When this story first broke, members of the community thought it to be a sham, or a charade to catch attention. It couldn’t possibly be true. But it was.