A.B. v. Bragg Communications Inc. et al. 2012 SCC 46
Courts - Administration - General - Public access to judicial proceedings (incl. court records)
The 15 year old applicant asserted that an unidentified perpetrator created a fake Facebook profile, which included a photograph of the applicant and other particulars that identified her. The profile discussed the applicant’s physical appearance and weight, and allegedly included scandalous sexual commentary of a private and intimate nature. The applicant commenced three applications: one to abridge the notice period required respecting an application for relief brought pursuant to Civil Procedure Rule 5.06; one to use pseudonyms and for a publication ban concerning the substance of the defamatory statements made about the applicant; and one for an order requiring that Bragg Communications provide information in its possession regarding the identity of the person(s) who used an IP address on a specified date and time.
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at 293 N.S.R.(2d) 222; 928 A.P.R. 222, exercised its discretion to abridge the notice period. The court allowed the application for disclosure, but denied the application for a publication ban and the use of pseudonyms. The applicant appealed and moved for orders permitting the use of pseudonyms for the purposes of the appeal and for a stay of the judgment below or a publication ban. The applicant also requested that her appeal be set down for hearing. The media respondents who had participated in the initial motion did not consent to the orders sought and took no position on the motion.
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, per Oland, J.A., in a decision reported at 293 N.S.R.(2d) 56; 928 A.P.R. 56, allowed the motion for the use of pseudonyms and for a publication ban on the actual words in the fake Facebook profile of the applicant pending the disposition of the appeal. The court set the appeal down for hearing.
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, in a decision reported at 301 N.S.R.(2d) 34; 953 A.P.R. 34, dismissed the appeal. The court continued the publication ban for 60 days or such further time as the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court might direct. The applicant appealed.
The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal in part to permit the applicant to proceed anonymously in her application for an order requiring that Bragg Communications disclose the identity of the relevant IP user(s). However, the court refused to impose a publication ban on that part of the fake Facebook profile that contained no identifying information.
Editor’s Note: Certain names in the following case have been initialized or the case otherwise edited to prevent the disclosure of identities where required by law, publication ban, Maritime Law Book’s editorial policy or otherwise.