Nova Scotia

CTV Atlantic charged with breaching Youth Criminal Justice Act

The station is charged with breaching the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The lawyer for a teen involved in a home invasion says the station broadcast her client's image in August.

Station accused of broadcasting teens involved in a home invasion that paralysed Ashley MacLean Kearse

CTV Atlantic is facing a charge of breaching the Youth Criminal Justice Act. (Google Maps)

CTV Atlantic is facing a charge of breaching Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act for broadcasting video showing two youths accused in a 2014 violent home invasion in Cole Harbour, N.S. 

Christa Thompson, a Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer for one of the underage accused, said her client called her Aug. 25, one day after he appeared in Halifax youth court to enter a guilty plea

"He had been seen on the news by various people in his life. The client reported to me, questioning me, basically wondering if he actually had been broadcast," Thompson said Thursday. 

The Youth Criminal Justice Act shields identities of Canadians who are accused or convicted of crimes committed while under the age of 18. 

Broadcast showed youth with sheriffs, lawyer says

Thompson said she didn't see the CTV News broadcast live, but said a Halifax Regional Police officer showed her a copy after she filed a complaint. 

"It showed my client, along with one of his co-accused, walking out of the courtroom with sheriffs, being escorted to the elevator where they would be taken down to cells," Thompson said. 

Police spokeswomen Theresa Rath refused to discuss details of the case until after a court date in February. She confirmed police investigated the complaint and ordered a corporation to appear in court in relation to an alleged breach of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A Bell Media spokesman, Matthew Garrow, declined in an email to comment while the matter is before the courts. 

'A fairly serious impact on a youth'

The Youth Criminal Justice Act assumes youth criminals are less blameworthy because of their perceived immaturity and impulsiveness, Thompson said. 

Ashley MacLean Kearse now needs a wheelchair and help to wash and eat. (Submitted by Wendy Kearse)

Shielding their identities leaves the door open for future rehabilitation, she said. 

"To later hear through various sources, 'Oh hey, I saw you on the news last night. You were being led out of the courtroom by sheriffs, I would say it would have a fairly serious impact on a youth," Thompson said.

Three youths and one adult, former amateur boxer Markel Jason Downey of Cole Harbour, were charged in the December 2014 home invasion. 

Ashley MacLean Kearse, 18, of Cole Harbour was shot during the crime. She was paralyzed from the chest down

CTV Atlantic is due in court Feb. 9.


Jack Julian


Jack Julian joined CBC Nova Scotia as an arts reporter in 1997. His news career began on the morning of Sept. 3, 1998 following the crash of Swissair 111. He is now a data journalist in Halifax, and you can reach him at (902) 456-9180, by email at or follow him on Twitter @jackjulian