The Supreme Court of Canada has decided not to hear a case concerning whether people whose identities are protected by publication bans can come forward on their own.
The appeal application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., dismissed Thursday, stemmed from the high-profile case in the late 1990s of former Alberta politician Jack Ramsay.
Ramsay, the former Reform Party MP in the Crowfoot riding, was charged with a sex offence in connection with an incident with a girl, 14,in northern Saskatchewan three decades earlier.
He was originally convicted of attempted rape. After that conviction was overturned, he pleaded guilty to indecent assault.
In 2000, CBC interviewed the complainant in the case. There was a publication ban on the woman's identity, but she asked that she be named in the report.
CBC was found guilty of ignoring the ban and fined $2,000.
The corporation failed to have the conviction overturned at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal,settingthe stage for Thursday's Supreme Court decision.
As is the normal practice, the Supreme Court didn't give reasons for refusing the hear the case.
Debate remains alive
CBC lawyer Dan Henry said the while this particular case is at the end of the road, the debate over whether victims should have the right to disclose their own names is still very much alive.
"If a complainant, at some stage, wants to talk they should be able to do so, without having to seek permission from the court," he said.
"It seems to be fundamental to a person's right to free expression that they be able to talk to the media when they choose."
If parliamentarians do not make any changes, Henry said, the media may wish to consider a constitutional challenge to the Criminal Code.