Thursday, February 08, 2007

Writers groups stand with Toro editor against subpoena in Baltovich case

The professional writing community is coming together in support of Toro editor Derek Finkle who has been subpoenaed to turn over to the court all of his research materials for the book No Claim to Mercy. Mr. Finkle wrote the book about the original trial of Robert Baltovich for the murder of his girlfriend Elizabeth Bain. Baltovich is out on bail while appealing his conviction.

The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) has joined with Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), PEN Canada and The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC) as official interveners in a hearing to be held February 19 concerning the subpoena.

The writers' organizations contend that neither the prosecution nor the defence should use Finkle's confidential background notes and interviews, but rather should do their own investigative work and present it at trial.

"A writer working within an established principle of a separate and free press," says PWAC Executive Director John Degen, "is being forced to choose between respecting the courts and protecting his career. As a society, we should refuse to subject our journalists to such unfair pressure."

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