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Child porn ban upheld

HALIFAX - A provincial court judge in Halifax upheld a publication ban Friday on the identity of a teenaged girl in a prominent child pornography case after her parents asked that their daughter's name be made public.

Judge Jamie Campbell said the case is unusual, but he warned lifting the ban might set a precedent that leads to the identification of victims in other child pornography cases.

As a judge, he said he has to apply the law even if he doesn't personally agree with the consequences in a single case.

Campbell said a Criminal Code provision requiring judges to ban the identification of a person who appears in child pornography prevails over other statutes including the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which allows parents to waive publication bans if their child dies.

The girl in this case is deceased.

Two teens face charges of distributing child pornography in connection with the case, while one of them also faces a charge of making child pornography.

Campbell noted that the Crown prosecution service can decide not to prosecute if the ban is broken.

The Crown made arguments in court in favour of lifting the ban, citing the parents' desire to have their daughter's name revealed and the attention the case has received.

A spokeswoman for the public prosecution service says the Crown will review a written version of the judge's decision before commenting.

Outside court, a lawyer for media outlets that applied to have the ban lifted said if the Crown decided it's not in the public interest to prosecute in this case, "that would be an elegant solution."

"It would serve the public interest not to prosecute," said Nancy Rubin.

She said the girl's parents or the media could still argue the ban in the Criminal Code violates charter rights guaranteeing freedom of expression, but that would have to be argued at a higher court.

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