Bail review hearing for G20 co-accused delayed

A prominent community organizer’s challenge of bail conditions set after his G20 arrest will be delayed another two weeks.

Jaggi Singh is asking that all bail conditions — which include a ban on public demonstrations — be rescinded.

The bail review hearing was set to go in front of Mr. Justice Speyer in Ontario Superior court on Nov. 17, but has been postponed until Nov. 30.

“To me, it’s not about winning or losing,” Singh said outside of court Wednesday. “It’s about being proactive and putting the issues forward.”

Details of the court proceedings are covered under a publication ban.

Singh is facing charges of conspiracy to commit mischief and conspiracy to assault and obstruct police.

He was released in July after posting bail of $85,000. Conditions of his release include no public demonstrations, non-association with the co-accused, house arrest and inability to posses a passport or use a mobile device.

Singh is the first of the G20 co-accused to appeal the bail restrictions. His challenge of the restrictions comes on the heels of Alex Hundert’s re-arrest. Hundert, co-accused in the G20 conspiracy case, was arrested in September after participating as a panelist at a Ryerson University forum. His involvement on the panel was seen to be in breach of the term of his bail, which prohibited demonstration.

PEN Canada — an organization that defends the freedom of expression in writers —provided lawyers for Singh. While PEN normally defends literary cases, the group was concerned with the greater censorship issue associated with restricting the right to publicly demonstrate, according to a press release dated Nov. 10.

Gerald Chan and Nader Hasan, with the law firm of Ruby and Shiller, were retained by PEN Canada to intervene in this case.

“Freedom of expression is not just a right to express yourself quietly, in a whisper, in the comfort of your home. It also includes the rights to express yourself publicly, to shout from the rooftops, to march in the streets,” Hasan said outside the court. “Without the right to demonstrate in public, the right to freedom of expression is a toothless, emaciated right.”

Hasan cited the significance of public demonstration in movements, such as the abolitionist movement in the 1800s and women’s suffrage at the turn of the 20th century.

“Freedom of expression is not content-specific,” Hasan said. “In the 1960s, the civil rights movement was regarded the same way that Mr. Singh is and his comrades are regarded today. They were regarded as rabble-rousers.”

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By: Veronica Blake
Posted: Nov 23 2010 9:24 am
Filed under: News