Publication ban challenged in Marissa Whalen case
Two-year-old Marissa Whalen, seen in this undated picture from a Facebook page, was killed in 2011. Rainbow Hill, a 30-year-old Fort Erie woman, was sentenced to life in prison Friday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in July 2013. FACEBOOK, Special to Niagara Falls Review
A judge will rule Friday on whether the details relating to the recent guilty pleas of two sisters charged in connection with the murder of a two-year-old Fort Erie toddler should be made public.
Rainbow Hill, 30, pleaded guilty June 29 to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Marissa Whalen. Her sister, Amanda Dipota, 31, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder.
Judge Anne Tucker at that time issued a temporary publication ban on the court proceedings, and instructed media that only the fact the two Niagara Falls women pleaded guilty and what the charges were could be published.
All other information discussed in court, including the reason for the publication ban, could not be published.
SunMedia lawyer Iain MacKinnon opposed the ban and a hearing was held Tuesday in Welland Superior Court.
All matters discussed in court on Tuesday cannot be published due to the ban.
Judge Tucker will deliver her verdict Friday on whether the publication ban should remain in place.
Meanwhile, Hill and Dipota will return to court Aug. 16 for sentencing.
Marissa's mother, 25-year-old Roseanne Whalen, is expected to appear in Welland court July 15. She faces a charge of second-degree murder.
The toddler was reported missing from her Fort Erie home Oct. 8, 2011 but Niagara Regional Police maintain the toddler hadn't been seen since July 2011.
Her remains were found Oct. 16, 2011 in the Six Nations community of Ohsweken, near Brantford.
Two-year-old Marissa Whalen went missing in July, 2011. Her remains were found by police on Six Nations land near Brantford in October 2011.
Rainbow Hill, 30, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder
Her sister Amanda Dipota, 31, pleaded guilty to accessory to murder.
The toddler's mother, Roseanne Whalen, 25, is expected to appear in court July 15. She is facing a charge of second-degree murder.