Nova Scotia

Frank Magazine pleads not guilty to breaching publication ban

A representative of Frank Magazine was in Nova Scotia provincial court Tuesday morning, facing a charge of violating a publication ban.

Halifax mag allegedly published banned info from preliminary inquiry of Christopher Garnier case

Frank's managing editor Andrew Douglas said outside court that he had expected the charge to be withdrawn. (CBC)

A representative of Frank Magazine was in Nova Scotia provincial court Tuesday morning to face a charge of violating a publication ban.

The charge stems from the murder case against Christopher Garnier, 28, who is charged with second degree murder in the death of Catherine Campbell, 36, an off-duty Truro police officer.

The Crown and police allege Frank published information from Garnier's preliminary inquiry that was covered by a publication ban. The magazine disputes that claim, saying its story was published online and had gone to the printers before the ban was imposed.

Douglas defiant

"Now that the Crown … has decided to proceed with this, I don't know how you can describe it in any other terms [but] malicious prosecution," Andrew Douglas, the managing editor of Frank Magazine, said outside court. 

"There's been no law broken here."

Douglas entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the magazine. The case returns to court later this month to set trial dates.

Douglas said he had actually expected the Crown to withdraw the charge. He suggested the charge was laid because Campbell was a police officer.

"Despite the fact that Frank Magazine and myself didn't do anything wrong, they feel the need to defend the honour of a tragically dead police officer because of what was in Frank Magazine," Douglas said.

"I would submit that they will likely regret that decision."

'That type of publication ban is standard'

The Crown amended the charge against Frank during the court appearance because the article in question is still on the magazine's website.

"We're of the position that there's a realistic prospect of conviction, that he violated a publication ban which was issued by Judge Derrick on July 11," Crown prosecutor Catherine Cogswell said outside court.

"That type of publication ban is standard, used across the criminal justice system in virtually every preliminary inquiry I've ever heard of."

Cogswell said Douglas has not given a statement to police but has commented to other media.

"I don't know where he's getting the law or the advice that he's getting but I can tell you that as a criminal lawyer with extensive experience his basic position is contrary to my understanding of the criminal law," Cogswell said.