CBC appeals ban on mini to top court

Pubcaster CBC has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada over the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision to ban Dec. 7 and 8 broadcasts of fictional miniseries, “The Boys of St. Vincent.”

The CBC and the National Film Board, which was a partner in the production, want the Supreme Court to review the decision.

“‘The Boys of St. Vincent’ offers viewers a deeper understanding of the psychology and humanity of both the abused and the abusers,” says NFB topper Joan Pennefather.

The four-hour tale recounts a story of sexual and physical abuse of young boys at an orphanage run by Catholic brothers. Disclaimers at the beginning of each episode state the show is a work of fiction, although it reportedly was inspired by recent events in Newfoundland and elsewhere in Canada.

However, Catholic brothers in southern Ontario who were awaiting trial for charges of alleged child abuse requested an injunction on the grounds that airing the program would jeopardize their right to a fair trial.

A provincial court judge agreed and granted a full network injunction. The Ontario Court of Appeal then restricted the blackout to Ontario and parts of Quebec, including Montreal.

And even though almost half the country’s population was denied the opportunity to view the program, “Boys” still managed to pull in 1,216,000 viewers, which made it the 14th most popular program for the week Dec. 7-13 per A.C. Nielsen.

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