Newfoundland lawyer charged with sexual assault loses publication ban – Winnipeg Free Press

ST. JOHN’S, NL – A Newfoundland lawyer accused of sexual assault lost his legal bid on Thursday to protect his name from publication.

Robert Regular was charged last year with four counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference. The charges involve the same complainant, including an incident that allegedly took place when she was 12, according to court documents.

A Supreme Court of Canada decision ended his legal battle for a ban that would prevent the publication of his name or any identifying details.

A ruling from Canada’s highest court is expected today in the case of a Newfoundland lawyer charged with sexual assault seeking to shield his name from publication. The Supreme Court of Canada is pictured in Ottawa on January 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Regular, 70, was first charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference in May 2021, court documents show. The Royal Newfoundland Mounted Police charged him with two more counts of sexual assault in December.

The charges stem from incidents that allegedly took place between 2002 and 2012, all in or around Conception Bay South, which is about 30 kilometers west of St. John’s.

In July 2021, Regular petitioned the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador for a publication ban on his name, arguing that he was a “prominent lawyer” with a career spanning more than three decades and a thriving practice that included several associate employees and attorneys. He said the publication of his name would have significant professional, social and emotional impacts, especially since some allegations involve a minor, according to court documents.

A judge granted a provisional publication ban.

The CBC and CTV challenged the ban, arguing at a provincial Supreme Court hearing in March that the ban violated press freedom rights and the open court principle, which requires the public access to court proceedings.

Judge James Adams overturned the ban, writing in his March 23 decision that Regular’s concerns “represented no more than personal and professional embarrassment and possible loss of business.” Granting the ban, Adams wrote, “would constitute a sea change in the criminal law.” It would also allow almost anyone charged with a criminal offense to seek the same protection, he added.

Regular’s lawyers decided to take the fight to the Supreme Court and Adams agreed to stay their decision while they petitioned the High Court to hear the case. In the meantime, the provisional publication ban remained in place and Regular only appeared in most court documents as “RR”.

On Thursday, Canada’s highest court denied his appeal, upholding Adams’ refusal of the ban. As usual, he did not give reasons for his decision.

Regular is due to stand trial on the charges beginning May 29, 2023 in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2022.

Jacob L. Thornton