Ottawa – November 23, 2007
In a ruling released today, Justice Métivier of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that Paul Fromm and the Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc. (CAFE) defamed Richard Warman in a number of postings on various Internet websites. Mr. Fromm was recently in the news after the all-party decision by Parliament to prohibit him from holding a press conference there and the Ontario College of Teachers’ decision to revoke his teaching certificate for professional misconduct.
Richard Warman is an Ottawa-based human rights lawyer who has been the successful complainant in 10 separate federal human rights complaints relating to the spread of hate propaganda on the Internet. In June of 2007, he was awarded the Saul Hayes Human Dignity Award by the Canadian Jewish Congress in recognition of his tireless efforts in support of human rights.
Justice Métivier found that the postings were defamatory of Mr. Warman and not protected by the defence of fair comment. She stated:
“I find Mr. Fromm’s dominant motive was to attack Mr. Warman personally in retaliation for Mr. Warman’s use of legal processes to restrain illegal speech. The motive of malice is seen throughout the evidence, including the context of the publications, the flavours and tone of the intemperate and unnecessarily inflammatory language used, the extent of his e-mail distribution list which Mr. Fromm admitted was in the thousands, and the letters to Mr. Warman’s employer, the CHRC.”
In assessing damages, Justice Metivier noted the effect of instant and possibly global dissemination of defamatory material over the Internet. She awarded general and aggravated damages totaling $30,000, and ordered Mr. Fromm and CAFE to post full retractions within 10 days to all websites where he had posted the defamatory material.
Mr. Warman indicated his relief at the vindication of his name. “The Supreme Court has been explicit about the importance to an individual of being able to protect their good reputation, particularly for lawyers.” He continued, “Justice Métivier’s decision has said that these baseless attacks against me were malicious and false. The libels were like an oil spill on my reputation and I hope this judgement helps clean most of it up.”
Successful legal counsel for Mr. Warman was Pam MacEachern of Ottawa’s Nelligan O’Brien Payne.
See http://www.nelligan.ca/e/PDF/Warman_Court_Decision.pdf for the decision.
For further detail, please contact:
Nelligan O’Brien Payne
Telephone: 613-231-8209 (w), 613-327-1614 (cell)
or email: julie.beaucaire at nelligan dot ca