New

Father and son journalists disappointed by unexpected delay in their trial

One of two Aylmer journalists charged with obstructing police following a dramatic car crash near Port Bruce, Ontario a year ago says he and his father – the co-accused – are extremely disappointed that their case has been delayed.

New information submitted by the Crown forced an adjournment in the case

Aylmer Express publisher John Hueston, 67, and his son Brett, 33, the paper's editor, were arrested by the OPP as they gathered information about a car that drove off a cliff last year. The pair now face charges of criminal obstruction of a peace officer. The charges have been condemned by media advocates as an attack on freedom of the press.

One of two Aylmer journalists charged with obstructing police following a dramatic car crash near Port Bruce, Ontario a year ago says he and his father — the co-accused — are "extremely disappointed" that their case has been delayed.

Brett Hueston, the editor of the Aylmer Express, said he and his father, John Hueston, the paper's publisher, were ready to go to trial Wednesday when the Crown submitted new information at the last minute.

"It really puts us in limbo for the next two months. It's disappointing above all else," said Brett Hueston.

The Crown said the new information presented to the court includes notes from the investigating officer in the case, and that there is more to come, including notes from a fire chief and a police media spokesperson.

The case was adjourned until August 15 to give the defence time to review the information.

Hueston said it's disturbing that the new information was entered suddenly considering the Crown had many months to prepare its case.

"We don't know for a fact why, but it seems strange that after a year of time to prepare for this that these things are coming forward now, certainly after a few days of this (case) being in the media."

Hueston said he and his father aren't concerned about how to defend against the new submission.

It really puts us in limbo for the next two months. It's disappointing above all else,- Brett Hueston, Editor of the Aylmer Express

"My story and my father's (story) is not going to change. We haven't done anything wrong. We're going to tell the same thing. We obviously need to go over this new information and make sure there isn't something that we find is inaccurate or conflicts."

The Huestons' lawyer, Gordon Cudmore, has said he is planning to use a constitutional argument as part of the defence. He argues the case is all about freedom of the press.  He maintains the Huestons were just doing their job when they were arrested by police.

The father and son journalists were charged by the OPP as they were trying to take photos after a car  drove off a cliff into Lake Erie near Port Bruce on June 23, 2017.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit was brought in to determine if an OPP vehicle had been in pursuit of the car that crashed. The death of the driver was later determined to be a suicide.

The Huestons said they were arrested after they challenged two police officers who said they could be nowhere near the crash scene.

They said they were handcuffed and taken to the Elgin OPP detachment where they were detained for several hours.

Each was charged with criminal obstruction of a peace officer.

The charges have been condemned by the Canadian Association of Journalists as "an unacceptable assault on press freedom and the public's right to know."