Law Times

February 3, 2014

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link: http://digital.lawtimesnews.com/i/252196

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 0 of 15

Recruiting? Great rates. Great reach. Great results. Contact Sandy Shutt at sandra.shutt@thomsonreuters.com for details. Post your position on JobsInLaw 1-8 pg 5X.indd 1 2/15/11 4:12:27 PM Warman victorious in 'legal odyssey' Free Dominion closes after ruling in marathon libel case he webmasters of an online conservative fo- rum say they had "no choice" but to shut down their web site a er an Ottawa lawyer succeeded in getting a court order banning them from publishing defamatory comments about him. e web site, freedominion.ca, is now seeking to raise money for an appeal of the court's decision via crowd- funding. "As of today, January 23, 2014, and a er 13 years on- line, Free Dominion is closing its doors to the public. We have been successfully censored," reads a note on the web site signed by Mark and Connie Fournier. A er a six-year defamation case, lawyer Richard Warman won a lawsuit against the two webmasters of freedominion.ca and two other commenters on the web site for disparaging comments made against him. Warman is known for his use of the now-repealed s. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act to launch com- plaints against individuals he alleged posted hate speech online. Freedominion.ca has been critical of Warman's ef- forts and published dozens of comments that called him, among other things, a "censorship champion." A er a jury found 41 statements on the web site re- garding Warman were libellous and ordered the defen- dants to pay $42,000 in damages, Superior Court Justice Robert Smith also ordered them to pay $85,000 in costs. In addition, he banned them from publishing, "in any form whatsoever," any of the 41 defamatory statements. " e continued publication of libellous material would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff 's reputation and prohibited material has already been found to consti- tute libel," wrote Smith in Warman v. Fournier on Jan. 23. "I fi nd that the balance of convenience favours the granting of an injunction because the terms of the pro- posed injunction would not prevent any of the defen- dants from engaging in political comment that was not defamatory, whereas the harm to Mr. Warman's reputa- tion would be substantial." Since the jury found the defendants made the com- ments about Warman "maliciously" and refused to apologize, "I fi nd that the plaintiff has met his onus of showing that an injunction should issue to prevent the defendants from publishing in any manner whatsoever any statements found to be defamatory of Mr. Warman in this action as set out in jury Exhibit J," wrote Smith. e order came as a relief, says Warman. "It had been a legal odyssey. e defendants had engaged in a very long and protracted legal battle, including a number of motions, as Justice Smith notes. at in and of itself had driven up the cost of the litigation far out of proportion with what should have been involved in a summary proceeding matter." e "real message" of the case is a call for serious con- sideration towards resolving disputes more easily rather than launching legal warfare, Warman adds. Meanwhile, the Fourniers are calling the decision "devastating" and "a life sentence . . . imposed for our ter- rible crimes of voicing our honestly held beliefs and al- lowing others to do the same." "Defamation law, in its current state, is entirely inad- equate and counterproductive when applied to the In- ternet. Now it is being used as a tool of censorship," they added in a statement on their web site. Freedominion.ca has set up an Indiegogo crowdfund- ing profi le with a goal of raising $25,000 by March for Federal Court takes step towards e-filing system OTTAWA — e Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal are looking at changing the rules to al- low for electronic fi ling and service of documents in what one judge says is the fi rst step towards a full electronic system in the future. In a notice of proposed changes published in the Canada Gazette on Jan. 25, the court proposes to change the rules for the two courts to repeal references requiring the fi ling of certain documents only on paper and instead give par- ties the option to fi le either an electronic version or the required number of paper copies. If a party consents, litigants will be able to serve documents elec- tronically as well. If all goes well, a er a 60-day consultation period, the changes could be in place by the fall. Justice Richard Mosley of the Federal Court's rules committee says the changes have been rough- ly four years in the making. "We've recognized for some time that . . . the courts have to at- tempt to keep up with technologi- cal developments." In 2011, the court's subcom- mittee on technology issued a dis- cussion paper designed to sound out the legal community on ways to update the Federal Court's rules to take into account new advances in technology. Based on the reac- tion, the committee decided to proceed by fi rst eliminating hur- dles to using technology. "Having done that initial work, the rules committee decided that rather than try to be all things to all people at the same time that we would proceed with identifi cation of obstacles to the use of technol- ogy," says Mosley. "We weren't going to try to rec- reate our rules entirely but to go through them and try to pick out those which, as written, since the last major iteration of the rules in 2002-03, would actively prevent someone from fi ling electroni- cally if they so wished." At the same time, the court launched a pilot project to allow for electronic fi ling. MUNICIPAL LIABILITY AG accused of conflict of interest P5 PUBLIC DEFENDERS? LAO hires new senior counsel P6 FOCUS ON International/ Cross-border Law P9 Richard Warman is still hopeful the controversial hate-speech provision will live on under a future government. Photo: Colin Rowe See Cost, page 4 See Crowdfunding, page 4 'I would like to see us have a full-fledged e-fil- ing system in place,' says Justice Richard Mosley. PM #40762529 & $#&!& j mmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM L aw TIMes $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 5 February 3, 2014 Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L aw TIMes L aw TIMes L aw TIMes BY YAMRI TADDESE Law Times T BY ELIzABETH THOMPSON For Law Times

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - February 3, 2014
loading...
Law Times

To access your digital edition please enter your email address as both your username and password. Not a subscriber? Please call 1-800-387-5164 and subscribe today. Login failed? Please contact aaron.green@tr.com.

 or  free preview Remember me