March 19, 2012
No cameras for James' sentencing hearing
By QMI AGENCY
WINNIPEG - Cameras won't be allowed in the courtroom at the sentencing hearing of convicted pedophile Graham James.
James, 59, will be sentenced Tuesday for sexual assaults on retired NHL star Theoren Fleury and his cousin Todd Holt — crimes for which the former junior coach, scout and general manager pleaded guilty in December.
Several local media outlets had asked the court to allow cameras in the courtroom, but James' lawyer, Evan Roitenberg, argued it would put his client's safety at risk.
On Monday, Judge Catherine Carlson said court must balance issues of openness with maintaining the dignity of court proceedings, and declined to allow a pair of live-streaming cameras into the courtroom.
"This case is highly charged enough. It is not going to become a spectacle," Carlson said.
"But for seeing the players in the process," cameras would add no new information to proceedings, she said, noting that court is open to any member of the public who chooses to attend.
She did acknowledge there is "extraordinary public interest" in the case.
Images of James' face have been plastered on the news for years, but decades older and over 100 pounds lighter, James is now unrecognizable to anyone who hasn't attended his Winnipeg court dates.
After ruling on the camera motion, Carlson confirmed she will sentence James on Tuesday.