March 28, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

Armand Renaud La Vergne

Liberal

Mr. A. LAVERGNE.

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called, I desire to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister of Justice, the part played by some newspaper reporters whose duty it is to acquaint the public with murder cases and other sensational crimes which unfortunately occur now and then in this country. Thus, we see in ' La Presse ' of the 18th instant that a reporter of that newspaper boasts of his having extorted confessions from an unfortunate man charged with murder. I do not think the reporters have the right, nor that it is their duty, to play the part of a detective, and such acts are calculated to harm a person who is

presumed to be innocent until found guilty. It seems to me they are also designed to injure the community by battling the aims of the law.
This report has in large types, among others, the following heading : ' A Visit to the Dungeon.' The reporter says that having asked the prisoner several questions he added :
I went on : Yes, that woman Sclater has made a clean breast of it. and this very day ' La Presse ' shall inform its readers that you are really the murderer, that there is no more doubt about that.
I understand that this is a matter more particularly within the province of the local government, hut it seems to me that [DOT]such conduct is inconsistent with our criminal law and that the lion. Minister of Justice should take some steps in order to put a stop to it. It is with that end in view that I bring this matter to his attention.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE - SENSATIONAL REPORTS IN SOME NEWSPAPERS.
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