Photographers may have to testify in riot trials

Michael ShaprayNews

Vancouverites seeking justice have taken to the internet in droves to post pictures of those involved in the Stanley Cup riots, but lawyers say the amateur photographers may have more work ahead of them.

Many people suspected to have been involved in Wednesday’s riot are already being tried in the court of public opinion as their photos are displayed on Facebook and websites dedicated to shaming hockey hooligans.

Criminal lawyer Michael Shapray says that the people who took those photographs may be called upon to testify in court.

“I would think that the police would want to gather as much information about the people submitting the videos and the photographs as they can, because in a court of law you have to be able to call a witness who took a video or took a picture to testify that is what they took and that is an accurate representation of what they saw,” he told CTV News.

High definition video that captures a sequence of events is harder to refute.

“Video evidence clearly will show something that’s not just snapped out of context or in a context we don’t know of,” Shapray said.

He says that the photographic proof piling up so far should ensure criminal convictions for many rioters, but the severity of the punishments will depend on the crimes.

“From the evidence we’ve seen already, it’s clear that some people will be convicted. It’s hard to tell yet how many people they’ll be able to bring to justice, but I would think there would be a number of convictions,” he said.

Some suspected rioters have already buckled under the pressure of public scrutiny, turning themselves in to police after their photographs were posted online. Others named as appearing in pictures have earned worldwide infamy without even being officially charged.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Bhinder Sajan