Crown seeks to lift the $25,000 publication ban ordered on the US$500,000 bail money spilt between a court appointed receiver and McLellan’s mother.
The judge set a hearing date of Thursday next week in the case and Crown says it plans to formally apply for an end to the court order.
Crown counsel Carolyn Wilson in the matter said, “There has been some family discord surrounding this matter and the Crown believes it will be beneficial for everyone if a publication ban is lifted.”
Crown learned of the money during a bail hearing in Winnipeg last week and asked to have it returned to McLellan’s mother “in the interests of justice,” but instead the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench ordered a publication ban on the amount.
The Manitoba government said Friday that it would file an appeal.
Gary Ducharme, chairman of Manitoba’s Law Enforcement Review Board said the province planned to file an appeal.
“After asking for intervenor status, the order has further burdened the system that was put in place to assist Nathan’s family. Hopefully, the time has come for this review. I hope that the review is completed in a timely manner,” Ducharme said in a statement.
Wilson says the motion for the publication ban not be granted again is based on a concern for McLellan’s right to a fair trial, and was a part of a move by McLellan’s lawyers that they decided against filing any objections or allegations in the court.
Wilson said the application by McLellan’s family “is well founded” and statements made by one of McLellan’s attorneys — Douglas Nicholls — to reporters have “caused undue expense and concern for Nathan.”
On Thursday, almost 24 hours after Crown initially tried to have the $25,000 publication ban lifted, Nicholls said it’s possible he has been duped into an arrangement with Crown to help them cover legal costs, which currently total $250,000, including the publisher.
In response, Crown apologized for potentially mistreating the media, and McLellan’s family said the public will see Crown’s actions as “outrageous.”
“The truth is I have a friendship with Nathan and his family. He has been helping me, financially, in the years following the death of my wife,” Nicholls wrote in a Facebook post.
“I actually have helped Nathan by providing bail money and property he needs to move forward to reclaim his life. Once our arrangement ends, I must move on.”
Nicholls also confirmed to CNN that the agreement never took place and that Crown had approached the family with the request.
“Absolutely and unequivocally no pre-requisite meeting was set up with Crown. There has never been a formal business arrangement,” he wrote in the post.
Crown said in a press release Thursday afternoon that while that was of concern to McLellan, it was not now the reason the publication ban was stayed.
For its part, Crown claims it had not given any reason for the request to amend the order.
“In the many months since his release from custody, Nathan has had many opportunities to meet privately with Crown attorneys and continue to have contact with them as a member of the Victoria family. At that time, it was agreed between the two parties that if any circumstances changed in the future, such a meeting would take place in court.”
There is no comment from the prosecution or family of McLellan yet.
A statement from the government said, “Crown considers these highly unusual circumstances and private bail arrangements developed in Alberta to be serious breach of fairness. While balancing both parties’ interests, the public’s interest in the presumption of innocence and the defendant’s right to a fair trial, Crown cannot accept the state of affairs as having continued.
“Nathan’s right to a fair trial is vital for him, for the integrity of the court system and for Canadian society as a whole. The decision by Crown has as its principal purpose the protection of the public interest.”