No cameras allowed in court for Graham James sentencing

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Tomorrow’s sentencing of Graham James won’t be televised. A Manitoba judge has denied the media’s request to put cameras in the courtroom to show the former hockey coach receive his punishment, reports the Canadian Press.

In December, James pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of Theoren Fleury and Todd Holt, both of whom he coached in the 1980s and ‘90s when they were teenagers in the WHL.

Judge Catherine Carlson said the case is “highly charged enough” and agreed with James’ lawyer that broadcasting his client’s current image – an image he’s managed to conceal – would violate his privacy and could pose a threat to his safety.

And while James’ well-being won’t be high on most people’s list of concerns, Carlson also worried cameras in the courtroom could dissuade sexual-assault victims from coming forward in the future.

“Indeed, it took Mr. Fleury and Mr. Holt many years to make the decision to disclose the offences that Mr. James committed against them,” she said. “If victims have to worry there may be a camera anywhere near the court proceedings, it is reasonable to expect they may not come forward. That would certainly impede the interests of the administration of justice.”