Ontario politicians echoed media concerns Monday about a sweeping publication ban in the Tori Stafford case, but Premier Dalton McGuinty said he was confident the facts in the first-degree murder proceedings would eventually come out.
The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats both warned the ban imposed Friday by Justice Dougald McDermid would only fuel rumours and false information, especially in today's wired world.
"Everyone has a blog and Facebook and Twitter," said Opposition justice critic Ted Chudleigh.
"My big concern is that justice won't be served by this since the rumours will certainly fill the void, and that's a bad thing for justice."
The New Democrats said the publication ban went so far beyond the norm it should be called a blackout.
"With our blogosphere culture, there's going to be all sorts of stuff said about what's happening (and) most of it will be inaccurate or downright malicious falsehoods," said NDP justice critic Peter Kormos.
"Surely the truth is preferable to any falsehoods, misinformation, speculation or innuendo."
Speaking at an unrelated event in Walkerton, Ont., Mr. McGuinty said he had confidence in the criminal justice system and advised people to be patient while the cases against Stafford's accused killers work their way through the courts.
"I think these are early days in terms of the proceedings themselves," said Mr. McGuinty.
"I think there will be opportunities for us to acquire more information generally, the public - through the media - as things unfold."
Tori Stafford, a Grade 3 student, disappeared after leaving school in April last year, sparking a desperate search that touched hearts across the country. Her remains were found three months later in a field north of Guelph, about 100 kilometres away.
Terri-Lynne McClintic, 19, and Michael Rafferty, 29, were arrested in May 2009 and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping.
Ms. McClintic was scheduled to appear in a Woodstock court Friday, but a temporary publication ban prevents the media from providing any further information until further order of the court.
Last month the court set June 21 as the date for Mr. Rafferty's preliminary hearing to begin.
The hearing, which allows a judge to weigh the evidence and decide if the case can move forward to trial, is expected to last about four weeks.
Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley said he won't "get in the way" of the controversial temporary publication ban.
"I won't comment on the case and I won't make commentary about the surrounding circumstances because that's a matter for the judge," Mr. Bentley told reporters on Monday. "Judges are independent in our society. They make independent decisions. The judge will be the one who comments on it. I won't."
The fact that judges are independent of politicians is one of the strengths of Canada's judicial system, Mr. Bentley said, adding that the courts only rarely resort to using publication bans.
With a report from The Globe's Karen Howlett