A woman, who was sexually assaulted by her husband, invoked her right to have a publication ban on the use of her name in criminal proceedings. The Canadian Newspapers Company challenged this right, using the Charter to strike down this protective legislation on the basis that it violated the company’s right to freedom of expression.
LEAF intervened, and the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the woman’s right to the publication ban, finding it a reasonable limitation on the freedom of the press. This was an important decision for women as publication bans on the use of their names encourage many survivors of sexual assault to seek justice. Historically, fear of public disclosure of their identity, with its potentially devastating impact on employment, relationships and health, discouraged women who had been sexually assaulted from seeking justice through the criminal courts.