Apr 5, 2022

Loretta Merritt speaks to BradfordToday on publication bans

Loretta P. Merritt was quoted by BradfordToday on the Brandy Mullen case regarding publication bans. 

Brandy Mullen wants you to know who she is. Well, it’s her story she really wants to share, but her name is all part of that. And now she can. On Tuesday, a Barrie judge agreed to remove the publication ban on her name.

After more than 30 years, Mullen mustered up the courage to go to police to report ongoing sexual abuse as a child.

There was a two-day trial and on Tuesday, Ontario Court Justice Nancy Dawson delivered a 90-minute verdict. Mullen, wearing a T-shirt that reads “Nevertheless she persisted,” was surrounded by friends as she logged into the remote hearing.

Toronto lawyer Loretta Merritt, who specializes in civil sexual assault cases, said more people like Mullen want to speak out about their experience. Publication bans are implemented without consultation with the complainants, who don’t have the power to revoke them, she added.

For many, having the ban lifted provides them with a sense of empowerment, something many victims feel they have lost to the perpetrators, Merritt said.

“Sexual-abuse survivors want to be empowered, not rendered powerless, to make important decisions regarding their legal rights,” Merritt wrote in a December 2020 paper, adding that approach is a step backward. “No court or Crown attorney — or anyone else for that matter  has a right to tell an abuse survivor what is best for him or her.”

Read the full article on BradfordToday.