“The Boys of St. Vincent”– a controversial tale of child sexual abuse at a church-run orphanage — is facing another broadcast ban on home turf. The Toronto branch of the Roman Catholic Christian Brothers is seeking to block pubcaster CBC’s Dec. 5-6 broadcasts just one year after a court injunction prohibited telecasts in Ontario and parts of Quebec.
The case will be heard in Ontario Provincial Court on Dec. 1.
Last year’s ban of the four-hour miniseries in the country’s two most populous provinces meant that more than one-third of the country did not get to see the program. Four other Christian Brothers — who were set to stand trial for various charges of sexual/physical abuse — argued that airing the program would interfere with their right to a fair trial.
The broadcast ban ended last summer after the trial concluded. And CBC reslotted the program into the fall schedule.
But last week Ontario Provincial Police brought new charges relating to additional allegations of abuse at St. John’s Training School in Uxbridge, Ontario. And the lawyer representing the Christian Brothers plans to repeat the argument that broadcasting the show could jeopardize his clients’ right to a fair trial.
The Supreme Court on Jan. 24 will hear an appeal from CBC and the National Film Board, which collaborated on the project with Les Production Tele-Action, to have the original ban overturned.