Welcome to the official website of Canadian human rights lawyer Richard Warman.
1. Warman v Connie Fournier and Mark Fournier – Ontario Court of Appeal summary
On 2 December 2015, Justices Eleanor Cronk, Robert Sharpe, and Bradley Miller of the Ontario Court of Appeal heard the appeal by the Fourniers against the jury trial verdict finding them liable for their years-long campaign of defamation against me. The judges indicated in advance that they had read submissions by both parties and were familiar with the material.
This will not be a verbatim summary, but more impressionistic highlights:
– at the opening, lawyer Barbara Kulaszka representing the Fourniers indicated she would reduce her shotgun written appeal to ‘5 key issues’
– Ms. Kulaszka argued that Justice Smith (the trial judge) had erred by referring all the allegedly defamatory posts to the jury for determination without performing a gate-keeper function in advance. Justice Sharpe intervened early on and Ms. Kulaszka acknowledged that she had asked on behalf of the Fourniers that all the posts be submitted to the jury for determination. Justice Sharpe then asked ‘What’s the trial judge to do? He would be going against your express wishes that everything go to the jury…”
– In response to an appeal argument by Ms. Kulaszka that the libels couldn’t mean what they were alleged to mean in the statement of claim against her clients, Justice Miller stated “I looked at the innuendos and frankly they don’t look like much of a stretch to me…”
– The issue of the postings being just ‘political venting’? Justice Sharpe said “That was the point you made to the jury and the jury didn’t accept that.”
– when Ms. Kulaszka raised the issue of the jury’s finding of malice on the part of the Fourniers, the Justices were clearly having a hard time understanding her submission – “I’m just trying to understand what it is you’re concerned about right now.” This is what is sometimes called a ‘judicial hint’.
– on the issue of whether the jury was right to award aggravated and punitive damages against the Fourniers – Ms. Kulaszka referred them to Justice Smith’s ruling confirming this after the trial – Justice Sharpe notes that in his reasons, Justice Smith said he found “ample evidence” to support the finding of malice and subsequent aggravated and punitive damages as a result.
– the Justices repeatedly ask throughout the hearing, “On what basis would we intervene?” to overturn challenged aspects of the jury verdict or Justice Smith’s rulings.
– with regard to the challenge against the permanent injunction against Connie and Mark Fournier – Justice Smith notes “If we look at Justice Smith’s reasons, he gives several bases for granting the injunction. Is that unreasonable?”
– After over an hour of hearing from Ms. Kulaszka on behalf of the Fourniers, the Justices take a short recess. On their return, they ask to hear from my lawyer James Katz only briefly in relation to the injunction which he amply justifies in under 5 minutes. Justice Sharpe, “Okay, thanks.”
– the Justices reserve but indicate that we should expect their decision in short order and they are true to their words (see point 2 below)
2. 11 December 2015 – Richard Warman v Connie Fournier and Mark Fournier – the Ontario Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected the meritless appeal by the Fourniers in my successful libel action against them. In October 2013, the jury of their peers that the Fourniers demanded awarded $31,000 in damages against them. Justice Robert Smith subsequently issued a permanent injunction requiring them to stop defaming me and awarded $62,000+ in costs against them personally.
The Ontario Court of Appeal found that Justice Smith did not err in any way in his conduct of the trial and agreed with the jury’s finding that the Fourniers acted maliciously in their campaign of defamation against me saying “there was ample … evidence on which the jury could have reached the conclusions that it did.” The Court of Appeal awarded a further $23,000 in costs against the Fourniers for the appeal.
Many thanks to my top-notch counsel James Katz who knows his way around a libel action – this one’s for you from those rocking Kingston kids:
3. Richard Warman v Michael Veck libel action
Conservative staffer must pay $10k damages for defaming human rights lawyer
31 July 2015
A senior Conservative Senate staffer who repeated lies that an Ottawa human rights lawyer had published a bigoted Internet attack on Senator Anne Cools must pay the human rights lawyer $10,000 in damages the Ontario Superior Court has ruled. In a decision issued yesterday, Justice David Corbett found the attack to be indefensible and “obviously defamatory.”
Michael Veck, also a lawyer, is parliamentary advisor to the Conservative leader in the Senate (this may be past tense). In March 2009, Veck republished a defamatory attack against Ottawa human rights lawyer Richard Warman. The material was posted to a Stanford University website forum catering to leaders in politics, academia, the military, and journalism. The original attack was written by Jonathan Kay and appeared on the website of the National Post before being publicly withdrawn and retracted after service of a libel notice by Warman. Both Kay and the National Post subsequently settled a libel action against them. For reasons that remain unclear, Veck republished the attack to the Stanford forum more than a year after Kay and the Post had deleted the article from their website. Justice Corbett found that Veck’s half-hearted subsequent retraction did nothing to reduce the damage and that Veck bore equal responsibility for spreading the original libel quoting famous English judge Lord Denning:
“Our English law does not love tale-bearers. If the report or rumour was true, let him justify it. If it was not true, he ought not to have repeated it or aided in its circulation. He must answer for it just as if he had started it himself.”
This judgement comes in the immediate wake of Ezra Levant and two other right-wing bloggers settling libel actions against them which saw them apologize and retract the same allegations. “Bearing false witness against your neighbour is both a moral and legal sin. The judgement further clears my reputation of this disgraceful slur. Veck is a lawyer and should have known better before launching his unprovoked attack against me.” Warman concluded, “Yet another reason to abolish the Senate.”
4. LIBEL ACTION SETTLEMENTS
11 June 2015
Update (21 June 2015) – Connie Fournier and Mark Fournier, the only remaining defendants in this action have rejected an offer to settle of $1 in damages plus $2,500 costs each that I would donate to charity (outlined below). I suggest people remember this next time they ask for $.
Richard Warman is pleased to confirm settlement of his libel actions against Ezra Levant, Michael Coren, Quebecor Media Inc., Sun Media Corporation, Sun TV News, Catherine McMillan, and Kathy Shaidle on terms acceptable to the parties and including apologies by Ezra Levant, Catherine (Kate) McMillan and Kathy Shaidle.
The only remaining defendants in the ‘Anne Cools’ libel action are Mark and Connie Fournier. I have instructed my lawyer to make a without prejudice offer to settle for $1 and $2,500 in costs each which I will then donate to the trust fund that has been established for the family of Daniel Woodall of the Edmonton Police Service.
5. DAVID ICKE SETTLES LIBEL ACTION
5 March 2015
British conspiracy writer David Icke and co-defendants have paid Canadian human rights lawyer Richard Warman $210,000 CDN (117,000 GBP) in damages and legal costs to settle a libel action against them.
In 1999-2000, Warman had worked with various Jewish and anti-racism groups to notify public venues in Canada of discriminatory elements within Icke’s mishmash of conspiracy theories. After being provided with material from Icke’s own writings, a number of these venues withdrew permission for Icke to use their facilities in his tours.
In retaliation, Icke included false allegations in his 2001 book Children of the Matrix that Warman was seeking to suppress Icke’s purported exposure of Satanic child abuse and murder.
David Icke made an out-of-court settlement on January 8th paying $90,000 CDN (50,000 GBP) on the eve of a long-delayed trial that was scheduled to begin in Toronto on February 2nd, 2015. The Court order formally discontinuing the claim was issued on 4 March 2015 thus paving the way for this announcement. Insurers for three Canadian bookstores that had refused to stop selling the book after being served with libel notices had previously settled out for $120,000 CDN (67,000 GBP). Information obtained from litigation by Icke against his former US business partner demonstrated that at least 55,000 copies of Children of the Matrix had been sold worldwide.
The settlement includes the requirement that Icke immediately cease any further distribution of Children of the Matrix and remove the defamatory material from any future editions. Warman thanked his lawyers Christine Lonsdale and Elder Marques of law firm McCarthy Tétrault – “They were absolute professionals and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Warman said “This settlement exposes Icke’s argument that no one had ever sued him because his allegations were true as nothing more than a fallacy.” He added, “My reputation has been entirely vindicated. David Icke’s attacks against me were disgraceful and beyond the pale but he’s paid a heavy price for them and I trust this will never happen again.”
Warman closed quoting Monty Python, “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.”
Play that funky music