Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Trial Ordered in Ontario Case After Judge Looks Up Info on Google Street View

According to the blog Legal Feeds, the Ontario Superior Court has ordered a new trial in an assault case because a judge looked up information from Google Street View on his own initiative:
"In coming to his conclusion, Goldstein [Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein, who ordered the new trial], citing one case from the Ontario Court of Appeal as well as other trial decisions, noted judges could in fact access Google maps to take judicial notice of facts. But the question, he found, is when do the judge’s actions cross the line into conducting an investigation and usurping the role of counsel. In this case, a major concern was not putting the image to Ghaleenovee [the defendant] (...)"

"Criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown notes the case deals in part with the scope of judicial notice when it comes to accepting facts generally accepted to be true. When it comes to Google maps, according to Brown, there’s a general acceptance that they’re accurate. But in this case, he says, the trial judge went even further."

" 'That’s problematic for a few reasons,' he says, noting the Street View image may now be out of date."
 Earlier Library Boy posts on misttrials caused by the use of the Internet or social media include:
  • Impartiality of Juries Threatened by Web? (October 22, 2009): "Donald Findlay QC, one of Scotland's top criminal lawyers, has warned that the impartiality of the jury system is at risk due to jurors using internet search engines and has warned that the Government cannot continue with its 'ostrich-like' attitude to the problem (...) "
  • More Jurors Get Into Trouble for Going on the Net (December 13, 2009): "Last week, a Maryland appeals court upended a first-degree murder conviction because a juror consulted Wikipedia for trial information. Earlier this year, the appeals judges erased a conviction for three counts of assault because a juror did cyberspace research and shared the findings with the rest of the jury. In a third recent trial, a juror's admission to using his laptop for off-limits information jeopardized an attempted-murder trial. On Friday, lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon asked for a new trial in part because five of the jurors who convicted her of embezzlement Dec. 1 were communicating among themselves on Facebook during the deliberations period - and at least one of them received an outsider's online opinion of what the verdict should be. " 
  • U.S. Federal Courts Tell Jurors Twitter, Facebook and Texting Verboten (February 9, 2010): "Wired Magazine is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States, the body that develops policy for federal courts in that country, has proposed new model jury instructions that explicitly ban the use of applications like Facebook and Twitter ..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:39 pm


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