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Yukoner disagrees with crash victim's family

WHITEHORSE - Story writer takes punishment into her own hands

Online naming and shaming on the Twitter account of Yukon News writer Jackie Hong

A Yukon resident who gets paid to write stories about people has taken issue with a judgement from the Yukon Territorial Court.

Jackie Hong, a staff member at the Yukon News, regularly posts comments from the courts to her public Twitter page without giving the full context of the court cases.

On Tuesday, Hong reported via Twitter from the sentencing hearing of a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian. The tragic accident happened in November 2019 on Whitehorse's notoriously dangerous Second Avenue.

At the hearing, lawyers on both sides as well as the victim's family and judge all expressed that while the impact on the victim's loved ones was unimaginable, there was nothing to be gained by compounding the trauma and hurt of either the victim's family or the driver.

A family member of the victim told the court of his profound grief but also said he wasn't mad at the driver and hoped all sides could grow from what had happened.

The court found that the driver had been driving carelessly at the time of the accident and has since been overcome by remorse. Justice Cozens urged the driver to try to move on by finding ways to help others. He handed down a one-month conditional sentence and $1,000 fine.

Punishment not enough

In apparent disagreement with how the court and victim's family wanted the driver to move on from the tragedy, Hong decided to take punishment into her own hands by publicly naming and shaming the driver.

Despite the driver's name not being publicized by either the victim's family, journalists or the court's own news release, Hong posted it to Twitter and then included it in a story for the Yukon News.

On Wednesday, the Yukon News printed Hong's story and published it to its Twitter and Facebook pages. The paper did not give a reason for its editorial decision to include the public naming and shaming.

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