Supreme Court (The Canadian Press)

Technical hiccup interrupts Supreme Court as virtual hearing gets underway

The court has long embraced technology by livestreaming proceedings on its website

It seems even Canada’s top court isn’t immune to the digital gremlins that meddle with online meetings.

The Supreme Court of Canada plunged into the world of virtual video hearings Tuesday afternoon to keep the wheels of justice grinding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After some introductory remarks from Chief Justice Richard Wagner, the court heard from Stephen Hamilton, counsel for a firm involved in a contractual dispute over a British Columbia real-estate development.

Then Hamilton’s sound and video appeared to conk out, prompting a break to attend to the technical glitch.

The Supreme Court plans to hold four hearings this week via videoconference, keeping participants apart to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Wagner says while the pandemic has forced the high court to close its building to visitors for health and safety reasons, it hasn’t stopped the nine justices from doing their work.

The court has long embraced technology by livestreaming proceedings on its website.

However, the virtual hearings are unfolding much like an online business meeting, with participants — including judges, lawyers and observers — connecting through the internet.

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