Frank magazine writer charged with violating publication ban in Catherine Campbell case

Frank Magazine writer Andrew Douglas charged with breaching a publication ban.
Frank Magazine writer Andrew Douglas charged with breaching a publication ban.

A writer for a Halifax satire and gossip magazine says it’s ridiculous that police have charged him with breaching a publication ban in the case of a police officer’s murder, and he’s vowing to take the case to the nation’s top court if necessary.

Andrew Douglas, of Frank Magazine, says he’s scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court Sept. 6.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that I’ve been charged with this and we’re going to fight this to the ends of the earth,” said Douglas in an interview Wednesday.

“We’re going to take it to the Supreme Court of Canada if we have to. I can’t believe the position that the police and most likely the Crown have put me in.”

READ MORE: Court documents detail Catherine Campbell’s death

Police said the charge, announced Wednesday, followed an investigation that began earlier this month.

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A preliminary inquiry into the homicide of Catherine Campbell began on July 11 and police say the magazine published a story online the same day that included information that was subject to the ban.

The same story appeared in the print edition of the magazine, which appeared on newsstands on July 13. The Halifax magazine is run separately from the Ottawa publication of the same name.

The publication ban was placed on all evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.

Douglas said his story was researched, written and published ahead of the publication ban.

“It was published before the ban,” Douglas said. “We put the story on the website at 9:30 or 10 o’clock in the morning on July 11 and that publication ban didn’t go into effect until later in the morning or even the afternoon.”

He said the story was based on a document that was not obtained through the court process and that proved to be controversial.

“There was a huge outcry of anger towards Frank Magazine … because it paints the victim of a crime in not the best light,” said Douglas.

Douglas said in this case he was a reporter who was simply doing his job and suggested that had upset many, including the police.

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He added that it’s rare for a journalist to be charged with “flying in the face of a publication ban.”

Police, who didn’t name the 39-year-old Douglas in a news release, said he was notified of the charge on Tuesday.

Police spokeswoman, Const. Alicia Joseph, said police allege the story was published after the court ordered ban.

“Any information stated in the court room that day a publication ban was put on,” said Joseph. “The information appeared in Frank Magazine (online) later that day, on July 11 and was printed on July 13.”

Christopher Calvin Garnier is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Campbell, who had served as a Truro police constable for six years before her death.

With files from Global News. 

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