Tuesday 11 February 2014

A  Defence  to  Libel                    


If you are sued for an allegation of libel committed by you, it means that you have allegedly written something about some person that was published of which that person thinks you have made an allegation about that person that is not true. The type of injury that defines defamation is damage to reputation, which is assessed from the perspective of an ordinary person.  Injury exists where an ordinary person believes that the remarks made, when viewed as a whole, brought discredit on the reputation of that person. 


As an example, if you wrote an article in a newspaper, a magazine, a blog or even wrote something in a letter in which you said that the person you wrote about is a thief and in fact that person isn’t a thief, then your written statement is libelous and you can be subjected to being sued for damages. The courts have also ruled that in libel cases, the plaintiff (the person suing you) doesn’t have to prove that his or her reputation suffered because of your libel as the court will presume that the plaintiff’s reputation has been tainted.  


I am going to tell you about a case of a woman who claimed that she was libeled and for this reason; she sued five defendants for $4,400,000. I will not give you the name of the woman and her company who sued us and instead simply refer to her as the plaintiff and her company as the Corporation. The defendants were two Canadian national newspapers, a reporter and two bloggers in which I was one of them.


She filed her claim in the Toronto Superior Court on August 31st 2011. Her claim filed against us consisted of 34 pages of which pages 20, 21 and 23 were specifically dealing with my statements in my blog.  She also stated in her claim that she was seeking an injunction against all of us from further publication of defamatory statements


Background of the plaintiffs


The plaintiff was the owner and general manager of a corporation (I won’t give you the actual name of the firm as it is out of business) that was a food preparation service company that catered to a number of childcare and daycare centres in Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario. It had 75 clients and a staff of 18.


A reporter with the Toronto Star (a large Canadian national newspaper) wrote two scathing articles about the corporation and about the plaintiff and her husband. In the articles, a Star reporter after visiting the site of the corporation and speaking with a number of employees in the corporation’s premises and elsewhere, wrote that the corporation was passing off meals that were kosher when in fact they were not kosher, that it was passing off food that was premium fare when in fact it was poorly cooked. He also wrote in his article that her corporation was a nomadic company (meaning it moves about) by cooking the meals out of the kitchens of a banquet hall, later a sports bar and a rented kitchen of a Mexican restaurant north of Toronto. He may have been implying that she was behind in her rent in all these establishments. He had written in his article that in one location, the corporation was kicked out of the building because the corporation was in arrears of $15,000. The corporation also rented part of the basement of a church in Toronto and when it was evicted, it left a mess behind and unpaid rent totaling $7,000. She then moved her business into a recreational centre and was evicted a week later after owing $1,200 in rent for the week and being unable to pay it.


A manager of a produce company (according the reporter’s article) called the police asking them for assistance when he on two occasions went to the plaintiff’s house to collect $6,500 still owing to him.


The plaintiff and her husband lived in a rented $2.2 million Georgian home and drove a Porsche both of which they couldn’t afford. This may explain why the plaintiff couldn’t pay the rent of the premises she moved her corporation into so many different times and for the groceries she purchased. The plaintiff in desperation was finally forced to cook the meals in the party room of her downtown condo.


In his article, the reporter also wrote that in the corporation’s brochure, the corporation had a nutritionist who quit thereby resulting in the plaintiff doing the job of the nutritionist until she hired an 18-year-old to do the job of the nutritionist.  His previous job was that of a cashier in a grocery store.


The article also said that the plaintiff was running from her creditors and further, that one daycare centre after another was cancelling their contracts with the corporation resulting in employees of the corporation quitting their jobs. Later some employees complained that they didn’t get paid for all of the work they did. He also wrote that a driver for the corporation had run out of gas for the company truck and asked the plaintiff to reimburse him for the money he paid to refill the tank. She refused his request. He also wrote that the man hadn’t been paid in weeks for the work he had been doing for the Corporation. One of the former employees personally wrote me and said in part; “I worked for (the corporation) and when I left, (the plaintiff) refused to pay me my vacation pay and last week’s work.” unquote


Finally, the reporter wrote in his article that the Ontario provincial Ministry of Labour ordered the corporation to pay seven employees back pay ranging from $2,000 to $6,200 after the Ministry found that the plaintiff had violated sections of the Employment Standards Act.  He also wrote that the Ministry was investigating five further complaints of pay still owing to the employees.


The reporter also said in one of his articles that the cooks told him that they were owed three week’s pay and unpaid overtime and that late paycheques were the norm. They also told him that their former workplace was an organizational nightmare.


They also told the reporter that when the corporation bought store-bought products like fruit bars and pita bread, the plaintiff passed them off as being homemade or organic. They also said that the corporation was careless with food safety by driving un-refrigerated perishable food from Toronto to Ottawa which is a distance of 280 miles (451 kilometers)  Sometimes, she would ask her employees to pretend that they were allergists, accountants and secretaries with the corporation when phone calls came in. 


When I read those two articles written by the reporter of the Star, I decided to write an article of my own in my blog. I was convinced that this corporation and it general manager were not fit to cater to childcare and daycare centres. Needless to say, the GM was displeased with my article as she was with what had also been published by the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen and the other blogger. We had more or less paraphrased what was in the Toronto Star articles.


I should point out that if as an author of a blog you repeat what is written elsewhere and what was written elsewhere is defamatory, then you are just as liable for damages as the person or newspaper that wrote the original article.

However, the perfect defence to a defamatory claim is truth. A defendant may successfully defend an action if she or she can show that the defamatory publication is true.  What is required of that defence is not the literal truth of each and every fact in the publication, but only that the whole of the defamatory matter is substantially correct. For example, if the reporter who wrote about the church in which the plaintiff used to cook the meals was in fact not a church but a mosque, that slight deviation from the actual facts by itself would not turn the entire statement into a defamatory statement. The attacks written by the Toronto Star reporter and myself would pass the majority’s honest belief test so long as our attacks constituted comment that someone might very well believe.


The reason why the plaintiff went after me was because of what I wrote in my blog. The title of my article in my blog which was published in June  2011 was Check a person’s background before you do business with that person. I also wrote in my blog;                                                


“John Blow (not his real name) wrote an article for the Toronto Star that was published on June 1st about a couple of real sleazy people who ripped off pre-school centres (names of centres and schools not named in this article) and their creditors. I am going to include his well-written article in its entirety in my blog so that you will appreciate why I have stated in the title of this piece that you should check a person’s background before you do business with that person.” unquote


In the plaintiff’s claim against me, she alleged that in the natural and ordinary meaning, the words (in my article) meant and were understood to mean that the plaintiff associated with sleazy individuals, is shabby, dirty and vulgar, is dishonest, is corrupt, is disreputable, is a scam artist and ripped off preschool centres and certain private schools.


I didn’t say that she hung around with sleazy individuals.  I was calling her and her husband sleazy individuals. I also didn’t say that she was vulgar. I did however imply that her conduct was shabby, that she was dishonest, corrupt and a disreputable person who was also a scam artist and that she ripped off several preschool centres and certain private schools. As far as I was concerned and obviously the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen must have had the same opinion, we wouldn’t have written what we did write if we had no faith in the judgement and honesty of the reporter who wrote the original article in the Toronto Star.

In my article I also said;


“If these victims had done their homework and investigated these sleazbags’ backgrounds, they would have learned of their shady financial pasts and would have never done business with them.” unquote


I also said in my article;


“If the name (the plaintiff’s name) is connected with the firm, close the door in her face or hang up on her and thank your god that you were smart enough to do your homework first.” unquote

I also said in my article;

“I can’t blame her for the e-coli outbreak in Europe but caterers like this woman can do the same kind of damage to your health or the health of loved ones when they cut corners or conduct their businesses in a slovenly matter.” unquote

In her claim against me, she alleged that I had accused her of being a business threat to society and conducted her business in a slovenly manner.

Hey! If you deliver un-refrigerated perishable food 451 kilometres (280 miles) from one city to another then your business definitely is a threat to society and you are without question, operating your business in a slovenly manner.          

We all filed our defences to her allegations in court. Mine was filed in February of the following year and accepted by the court.

Having practiced law for many years and having represented a number of clients in defamation cases successfully and having also tutored many law students at the request of a College that they there studying at on how to research law, I decided to be my own advocate.

I am aware of that old saw; A person who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. Many years ago, I hired a lawyer to represent me in court and he lost the case through his outright stupidity. He hadn’t even researched cases previously decided upon to verify my position in the matter. I appealed my case to the Ontario Court of Appeal and prepared the appeal and represented myself in the court and won my appeal on my own. A lawyer from the Attorney General’s office conceded that I was right all along and he told the appeal judges that.  Several lawyers said they would represent me if I paid them $10,000. No thanks. One man who represented himself in the Supreme Court of Canada also won his case. This however doesn’t mean that everyone should represent themselves in court. There are some cases that are very tricky to win when it comes to the interpretation of law.       

Truth is a defence

Other than truth being a defence to the claim of libel, there are other defences available to people who are sued for defamation of character. They are as follows:      

Fair Comment 

The Supreme Court of Canada in Cherneskey v. Armadale Publishers Ltd dealt with the issue of fair comment. The court said in part; “It is an essential ingredient to the defence of fair comment that it must be the honest expression of the writer's opinion, and each publisher in relying on the defence of fair comment is in exactly the same position as the original writer.”

There was no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the original writer of the Toronto Star article was expressing his honest opinion of the facts given to him by various sources. Further, where the comment imputes evil or corrupt conduct, it must also be shown that such imputations are warranted. 

Two of the judges also said; “A defendant should succeed on a defence of fair comment if he shows that the comment was objectively fair and the plaintiff does not establish malice on the part of this individual defendant. These principles of law apply alike to all defendants; no wider or different rule is necessary for newspapers.”  This would also apply to writers of blogs.

The court also said in part;   “A fair comment on a matter which is of public interest or is submitted to public criticism is not actionable. This right is one of the aspects of the fundamental principle of freedom of expression, and the courts are zealous to preserve it unimpaired. It must not be whit­tled down by legal refinements.”

Comment or criticism must be carefully distinguished from a statement of fact. The former is not actionable if it relates to a matter which is of public interest.  Criticism however is actionable, even though the facts so stated would, if true, have possessed the greatest public interest and importance.

The court said that comment or criticism is essentially a statement of opinion as to the estimate to be formed of a man's writings or actions. Being therefore a mere matter of opinion  and for this reason,  so incapable of definite proof, he who expresses it is not called upon by the law to justify it as being true, but is allowed to express it, even though others disagree with it, provided that his opinion is honest. By that—he has an honest opinion of what he believes to be true.

Freedom to express an opinion on a matter of public interest is protected, but such protection is afforded only when the opinion represents the honest expression of the view of the person who expresses it.

There was no doubt in my mind that what the reporter wrote in his article about the plaintiff and her corporation was his honest opinion of the facts given to him by people who were in a position to know those facts. Admittedly, those former employees had an axe to grind but so do whistle blowers who inform the media of what they know. That doesn’t mean that they were lying.

The case of Edward Snowden is a valid case in point.

Comments must be published honestly in that it is the expression of the writer's real opinion. Because of my honest belief in the integrity of the reporter who wrote the original article, there were no doubts in my mind when I chose to put a copy of his article in my blog nor were there any doubts in my mind when I presented my own views of the conduct of the plaintiff base upon what I learned from the article written by the reporter in the Toronto Star.

In the case of Silkin v. Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd, the court said;

“People are entitled to hold and to express freely on matters of public interest strong views, views which some of you, or indeed all of you, may think are exaggerated, obstinate or prejudiced, provided—and this is the important thing—that they are views which they honestly hold. The basis of our public life is that the crank, the enthusiast, may say what he honestly thinks just as much as the reasonable man or woman who sits on a jury, and it would be a sad day for freedom of speech in this country if a jury were to apply the test of whether it agrees with the comment instead of applying the true test: was this an opinion, however exaggerated, obstinate or prejudiced, which was honestly held by the writer.” unquote 

In the defence of my own case that I filed with the court, I said in paragraph 10;

“Further, it is Batchelor’s contention that when he wrote his two articles in his blog, he was giving his readers his honest opinion about what he honestly believed and described about the character of (the plaintiff) and her husband and the manner in which the business of the firm was conducted. This is why his blog is titled, Dahn Batchelor’s Opinions.  Batchelor maintains that what he writes in his blog is to be accepted as his opinions only based on facts he gets from other sources he believes to be true.”  unquote

In paragraph 11, I wrote;

“It is Batchelor’s contention that if his articles consist partly of statements of fact and partly of statements of opinion, a defence of honest opinion shall not fail merely because he cannot prove the truth of every statement of fact if his opinion is shown to be based upon a genuine belief  having regard to those facts (such facts that are alleged or referred to in the publication containing the matter that is the subject of the plaintiff’s claim) that are proved to be true, or not materially different from the truth; or any other facts that were generally known at the time of the publication and are proved to be true. There is no doubt that a comment may be defamatory. It must simply be borne in mind that just because someone expresses an opinion does not mean that it will be believed and therefore effect its subject’s reputation. ” unquote

I copied that last sentence into that paragraph from Baglow v. Smith a case heard in the Superior Court in Ontario

In Paragraph 12, I wrote with respect to the issue of fair comment;

“It is Batchelor’s contention that the common law defense of fair comment and responsible communication protects his opinion about matters that are of public interest and that he was justified in publishing his opinions about the conduct of the plaintiffs because he felt that it was in the public’s interest to have as many insights into an issue that was of great concern to members of the public, especially when it related to the welfare of young children eating the food supplied by the plaintiffs.” unquote

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression and respect for vigorous debate on matters of public interest have long been seen as fundamental to Canadian democracy. In 1982, the Canadian Charter, through section 2(b), confirmed and expanded constitutional protection for free expression, specifically extending it to the press. It says in part;  “Everyone has freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” Obviously other ‘media of expression’ includes blogs.  However, Charter principles do not provide a licence to damage another person’s reputation simply to fulfill one’s desire to express oneself.

Free expression squarely applies to communications on matters of public interest, even those which contain false imputations.

The vital role of the communications media in providing a vehicle for such debate is explicitly recognized in the text of section 2(b) itself: “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”

However, freedom does not negate responsibility. It is vital that the media act responsibly in reporting facts on matters of public concern, holding themselves to the highest journalistic standards.  But to insist on court-established certainty in reporting on matters of public interest may have the effect of preventing communication of facts which a reasonable person would accept as reliable and which are relevant and important to public debate.

The existing common law rules (former court decisions) mean, in effect, that the publisher must be certain before publication that it can prove the statement to be true in a court of law, should a suit be filed. I am convinced in my own mind that the Toronto Star was satisfied that its reporter’s investigation was through enough as to the facts that he was writing about after interviewing former employees of the plaintiff’s corporation.

Verification of the facts and reliability of the sources may lead a publisher to a reasonable certainty of their truth, but that is different from knowing that one will be able to prove their truth in a court of law, perhaps years later. This, in turn, may have a chilling effect on what is eventually published.  Information that is reliable and in the public’s interest to know may never actually see the light of day.

Public interest

Although the right to free expression does not confer a license to ruin someone’s reputation,  when proper weight is given to the constitutional value of free expression on matters of public interest, the balance tips in favour of broadening the defences available to those who communicate facts if it is in the public’s interest to know those facts. 

 It was held in WIC Radio, that freewheeling debate on matters of public interest is to be encouraged, and must not be thwarted by overly solicitous regard for personal reputation. 

Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Ltd marked a decisive departure from the traditional pro-reputation orientation of defamation law in England. The case involved allegations of improper dealing by an Irish politician. The House of Lords, (Britain’s highest court) for the first time, recognized that “freedom to disseminate and receive information on political matters is essential to the proper functioning of the system of parliamentary democracy” and that the news media plays a vital role in furthering that interest. It followed that the law of defamation should provide greater protection to publications made on matters of public interest. A new standard was pronounced — responsible journalism. Effectively, the House of Lords recognized a compelling duty on the press to publish such reports and a corresponding interest on the part of the public in receiving them.

As I said earlier, freedom of speech does not negate responsibility. That is why it is so vital that the media act responsibly in reporting facts on matters of public concern thereby holding themselves to the highest journalistic standards. Having been a copy editor of a large newspaper,  the editor of a magazine,  a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and the host and producer of a TV talk show in years past, I adhered to this premise and continue to do so when I am writing my articles for my blog.

In my opinion, reporting on matters of public interest engages the first and second rationales of the freedom of expression guarantee in the Charter. 

People who enter public life cannot reasonably expect to be immune from criticism, some of it harsh and undeserved. Participation in public life does not amount to open season on reputation. For example, much has been written about Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto and his propensity to screw up. No one however (and that includes me) has ever written anything that would imply that this buffoon is a murderer because he isn’t one. He is a fool, a drug addict, an alcoholic and one who flouts the law—yes but not a murderer.

The Supreme Court of Canada in  Grant v. Torstar Corp., said that the press and others engaged in public communication on matters of public interest, like bloggers, must act carefully, having regard to the injury to reputation that a false statement can cause. A defence based on responsible conduct reflects the social concern that the media should be held accountable through the law of defamation.

The House of Lords also made clear that the defence is available to “anyone who publishes material of public interest in any medium”, not just journalists or media companies.

I was mindful of the damage that could be done to the woman I was writing about if I wrote a false statement in my blog about her or her corporation. That is why I relied on the integrity and honesty of the reporter of the Toronto Star who had written about the woman and her corporation and at the same time, I also relied on the good judgment of the Toronto Star in permitting the article written by its reporter to be published in its paper.

In paragraph 13, I wrote with respect to the issue of public interest;

“It is Batchelor’s contention that since the subject matter of (the Toronto Star’s reporter) articles was a matter of public interest, Batchelor was justified in quoting him and writing his own commentary in his blog.”

Disparaging remarks

An attack on a person’s reputation can involve allegations of fact and  include offensive and insulting commentary.

The plaintiff in her claim against me said and I quote from her claim with respect to how I described her and her husband in my article in my blog;

“In their natural and ordinary meaning, the words meant and were understood to mean that (the plaintiff) is shabby, dirty and vulgar.”

There is no doubt in my mind nor should there be in anyone else’s mind that using insulting and perhaps even vulgar words in describing someone publicly can create some anguish in the person you are writing about. But it is not defamatory to do so. That is why I used the word, “sleazebags” when describing the plaintiff and her husband and used the words “hunk of blubber” when describing the enormously fat mayor of Toronto who has become the butt of many insults by others.  This confirmed drug addict and unrepentant drunkard deserves the insulting commentary he gets.

In Bou Malhab v. Diffusion Métromédia CMR Inc., the Supreme Court of Canada said in part; “An ordinary person will see exaggeration, excessive generalization or extravagance in the allegations and will give them less credence as a result.”

n paragraph 15 of my defence, I wrote the following;

“Further, it is Batchelor’s contention that the plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed because the alleged defamatory or disparaging statements in his articles in his blog set forth in the plaintiff’s claim are no more than rhetorical hyperbole and mere insult or vulgar abuse has been held not to constitute defamation. An otherwise responsible article should not be denied the protection of the defence simply because of its critical tone.”


I quoted the last sentence from the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Grant vs. Torstar.


In the text book, The Law of Defamation in Canada, (which I have a copy in my study) cites ample authority for the proposition that words that may appear to be statements of fact may, in pith and substance, be properly construed as comment.  This is particularly so in an editorial context where loose, figurative or hyperbolic language is used. Obviously my use of the word “sleazebags” is merely part of my commentary.




To constitute actual malice, it is not necessary that the defendant should be actuated by any special feeling against plaintiff in particular. He need not even be personally acquainted with him or her. As to liability on the ground of negligent publication, the author of a written article owes a duty to the anyone written about to take at least ordinary care to prevent any article being published in the newspaper, magazine or a blog that would or might result in damage to the reputation of that person being written about.


However, malice isn’t presumed. The plaintiff is legally required to prove malice. The question of honesty or dishonesty in the publication' so far from being immaterial may be the determining factor as to whether the grounds for a defamation complaint exists. The very essence of the case is the falsity of the publication complained of and the want of good faith in publishing it.


Actual malice in the sense of a predetermined intention to injure the plaintiff cannot be necessarily proved. If it could be, there would be more restraint upon false publications by newspapers, causing the most serious damages to the reputation of others. However, the reckless publication by a defendant of an untruth respecting the complainant's conduct, the natural result of which is to produce and where it does produce actual damage, is sufficient evidence of the absence of good faith which is proof of the existence of malice required by law.


For example, suppose someone hears a rumor that another person is a child molester and he then decides to state that as a fact in his blog. Without ascertaining the truth of the rumor and printing it anyway; it would constitute reckless publication with an indifference to the reputation of the person being written about. If the means were at hand for ascertaining the truth and the defendant purposely neglected to avail himself of it and chose to remain in ignorance of the real facts when he might have obtained full information by making pertinent enquiries, this would certainly be sufficient evidence of such wilful blindness as to amount to malice. If he is not in a position to investigate the rumor further, then he should not print anything in his blog that he knows very little about.


Now this raises an interesting question. Before I wrote the article in my blog about the plaintiff, why didn’t I conduct an investigation into the allegations stated in the newspaper?


The answer is obvious. The reporter in the Toronto Star had already done the investigation and in my respectful opinion, it was a very thorough investigation he had undertaken. I accepted the findings of that investigation and subsequently, I had no qualms about publishing his article in my blog and commenting on the conduct of the people involved from the information I gleaned from his article.


In paragraph 17 of my defence, I said the following;


“It is Batchelor’s contention that at no time had he been motivated by personal spite or ill will or any form of malice towards the plaintiffs since he had no personal relationship or contact with either plaintiff prior to or during the writing of his articles in his blog and that anything that he wrote in his blog that displeased (the plaintiffs) was strictly for the purpose of  advising his readers to be careful about who they deal with and in doing so, he used the allegations of (the reporter) of the Toronto Star as an example of what can go wrong when precautions aren’t undertaken before dealing with firms and their operators.”


The dominant motive for publishing my article in my blog about the plaintiff, her husband and her corporation was my honestly held opinion as to the dangers this woman and her corporation that existed at that time when they were apparent while she was dealing with her customers.  


As someone who is conversant in the law of defamation, I am cognizant of the responsibilities of everyone, including myself of the duties as an author of articles to take exceptional care to not defame any person.  Anyone who makes a statement recklessly, (written or spoken) whether it turns out to be true or false, can have no belief in the truth of what he speaks and should rightly be sued for defamation of character if his statement is false.


What happened in my case?


It appears that the prime plaintiff had no money to proceed with the claims. I personally believe that she lost interest in it. The woman told me that she was no longer connected with the corporation. Her company, ceased operation in June, 2011. She moved and mail was returned with the notation, MOVED: ADDRESS UNKNOWN on the returned envelope. I also learned that she was personally sued for $390,000 in unpaid loans. In one case in which she was sued, she told the judge that she was late filing her defense, because she couldn't afford a lawyer.  In Canada, if you don’t have money when you lose a case in which you sued someone so that you can pay the defendant’s costs, the defendant can bring in a motion to dismiss the claim on those grounds alone. Not only didn’t she have money to defend herself, she didn’t pay the thousands of dollars she was ordered to pay the two newspapers after they brought in a motion they won against her. She didn’t even come to court to contest it.


If she filed personal bankruptcy because of her outstanding personal debts, her trustee in bankruptcy would not be able to proceed against me and the others with her claim if the trustee didn’t believe that she had a valid claim to begin with.  


Even if she had sued me and won, she would not be able to get any money from me for a number of reasons. It is suffice to say that I am judgment proof which means that any assets that are in my name, she couldn't legally seize.


But what is interesting is that if she got judgment against me, she would have also got judgment against the two newspapers. Plaintiffs who win defamation cases go after those who have the deepest pockets. She would have gone after the newspapers and if they didn’t appeal the court’s decision, they would have settled with her for an amount that I could never reach. Once she settled with them, she would be barred from going after me and the other blogger.


On September 12, 2013, the Superior Court in Toronto sent out a notice to all the parties of that action that that more than two years had passed since a defence had been filed in the court and that the matter hadn’t been put on the trial list. The court said that the plaintiffs had 90 days to proceed further otherwise the case would be dismissed with costs.  On January 16, 2014, the court mailed all the parties another notice in which the court said that the plaintiff had not brought the action to a conclusion or set it down for trial and for this reason, it was ordered that the action be dismissed with costs.


I didn’t seek costs from the plaintiff for two reasons. The first being that she wouldn’t have any money to pay those costs in any case and the other reason was that because of a technicality in the law, I didn’t have to pay any court fees when I filed my defence in the court and I represented myself so I was not out any money. And since I am retired, I didn’t lose wages filing the defence.


I could have ended this case against me sooner had I chosen to bring in a motion for summary judgment. This is similar to a pretrial in which a defendant can argue that the plaintiff has no legitimate case in the first place. My argument would be based upon the following;


First: The plaintiff offered me the opportunity to withdraw my article from my blog. I agreed to do this and I did it. Then she still pressed on with her case against me when she should not have done so.


Second: I offered to let her make a statement in my blog explaining her own views with respect to the Toronto Star article. She refused my offer by saying that no one reads my articles and she wouldn’t waste her time preparing her response to the Star’s allegations in my blog. No one reads my articles? I checked recently and I have had over 170,000 hits in my blog.

Once the court was appraised of those facts, this woman would have got about as much sympathy from the court as a dog gets when it wanders into a flea convention.


I hope that my readers find this article informative, especially if they are bloggers like me. But remember this. You can successfully be sued even if you send a letter to someone in whom you made a false allegation about another person.

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