Canadian judge bans U.S. media from trial p.

By: Alan Harman A CANADIAN JUDGE banned American reporters from his St. Catherines, Ont., courtroom while allowing their Canadian counterparts to attend the manslaughter trial of the wife of a man charged with first-degree murder in the sex slayings of two schoolgirls.
He also banned members of the public to make sure they did not give information to the U.S. media. Members of the victims' immediate families were permitted to attend.
About a dozen U.S. reporters attempted to cover the trial.
The Canadian reporters were told they could not report anything but the judge's verdict; any sentence against Karla Teale, 23; and any comments he made about whether she posed a threat to the community. They were even barred from reporting her plea.
The Canadian reporters were also barred by Justice Francis Kovacs from revealing details of the case either directly or indirectly to the American media.
Kovacs said the ban was needed to ensure that Paul Teale will have a fair trial. Paul Teale, who changed his surname from Bernardo shortly before he was charged, faces nine charges ? including first-degree murder ? and is not expected to go to trial until 1994 or 1995.
The ban on reporting the Karla Teale case will end at the conclusion of the Paul Teale legal process.
Kovacs said that without a media ban, the massive publicity surrounding the trial would make it next to impossible for Karla Teale's estranged husband to get a fair trial before a jury.
"The consideration of fair trial outweighs the freedom of the press in these circumstances," Kovacs said.
The judge has the power to make the order under a section of the Canadian Criminal Code that allows a court to be closed to the public and a media ban imposed in the interests of the proper administration of justice.
According to published reports, Paul Teale opposes the media ban.
Kovacs said some media outlets from Buffalo, N.Y. ? just across the international border ? had indicated they might ignore a publication ban.
The Toronto Globe and Mail said it would appeal the decision, but a ruling came in the trial before the appeal could be heard.
Karla Teale was sentenced to two concurrent 12-year prison terms.


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