New Brunswick Court Weighs In On Bloggers

I'm late to this case (NY Times and Slaw have covered it), but a New Brunswick court has recognized blogging as an occupation in a case involving an arrest for obstructing a police officer.  The decision, R. v. LeBlanc, involved an arrest for obstructing a police officer.  The person charged is a well-known blogger who was covering a political demonstration for his blog.  The judge acquitted the man, concluding that there was reasonable doubt that there was willful obstruction.

More interesting are the judge's comments regarding blogging.  In particular, the judge notes that that the blogger was "simply plying his trade, photographing a demonstration for inclusion in his blog when he was arrested."  He goes on to state that:
It may well be asked if Mr. LeBlanc's chosen occupation as a blogger had any bearing on my decision in this case.  The answer to that is yes and no.  The fact that the defendant was a blogger explained why he was at the Trade and Convention Center taking pictures, while a riot was going on.  It could also explain why he was on a first name basis with some of the delegates.  It would explain why he was so upset at being arrested, as he obviously considered himself to be a legitimate member of the media who had done nothing wrong.

Assuming for the purposes of my decision that Mr. LeBlanc was a legitimate member of the media, did this grant him any special exemption from following the directions of the police?  The answer to that is clearly no.

Although this is not a ground-breaking case, it is interesting to note how the court has little difficulty accepting the bona fides of the blogger.  I think it is a safe bet that the decision will resurface in the future as the law grapples with whether we are all journalists now.

One Comment

  1. New Brunswick Court Weighs In On Bloggers
    Really it is a nice article about the blogger,the judgement of the court is intersting…

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