Day 1′s events can be read here.
Day 2′s events can be read here.
Day 3′s events can be read here.
Day 4’s events can be read here.
I’m afraid that I was unable to attend on day 5. However, I have heard some accounts which I would like to share with you. However, do remember I have not seen this myself, so it is just a person on the internet repeating a rumour….so give the account weight accordingly. Mr. Warman was still on the stand and acted up the self pity, even bringing forth tears for the jury, when he recounted just how difficult this has all been for him, the righteous protector of our society.
Day 6’s events can be read here, as a real newspaper sent the liberal Glen McGregor to cover the appearance of Mr. Icke as a witness. Following Mr. Icke’s testimony, Connie Fournier took the stand and began her testimony. From the Ottawa Citizen:
‘Icke testified Warman’s efforts led to the cancellation of speaking events on the 2000 tour and hassles at the hands of Canada immigration officials, including when he arrived in Ottawa on Saturday.
“I started to realize there was a campaign to stop me and I was being painted as some kind of racist who was going to be engaged in hate speech, when I talk in my books about the need to love each other,” he told the court.
“That was shocking and the name Richard Warman started to appear as one of the ringleaders of this extraordinarily unfair character assassination.”’
‘”In her opening statement before presenting a defence of the libel claims, Kulaszka said the website posts Warman complained of show “how utterly trivial this lawsuit is. Some don’t even mention Richard Warman,” she said. “Some are obvious jokes.”
“The paltry few lines he is suing for could not damage his reputation,” she told the court. She said Warman had made himself into a public figure through repeated use of Canada’s hate-speech laws.’
Today is day 7 of the trial and as it opened, Connie Fournier was testifying.
In a pretty white blouse with black buttons and black embroidery detail topped by a red cardigan and simple pearls, she appeared competent and likable. Most of all, she appeared well grounded and very much in touch with technology and the latest trends on the internet.
Her easy smile was endearing.
Her testimony was deeply thought provoking.
She explained, among many other things, just how clear it was that some of the statements that Mr. Warman alleges are defamatory, just how very crystal clear it was that they were parody.
For example, there had been a thread from several years ago regarding an essay contest for the Western Standard, a magazine that used to be published by Ezra Levant. In this particular thread, Peter O’Donnel had posted a list of the most ridiculous titles for an essay one might write and submit to this contest. The thread had already been several years old at this point, but someone else had added another title, regarding Mr. Warman, and then added an emoticon after it of a face with the tongue sticking out, clearly indicating this is parody.
Yet, Connie Fournier explained, Mr. Warman was claiming it was defamatory – as if it had been a statement of fact!
Another instance which, Ms. Fournier testified, where Mr. Warman claimed they had defamed him by was when they had posted his libel notice. Earlier, while he was testifying, Mr. Warman had indeed lamented at great length that when Free Dominion had posted his libel notice, they had re-packaged all of the defamatory material into one convenient package and then re-published it: not only did this hurt him all over again, it made it easier for his haters to use…
Connie Fournier explained that some of the material Mr. Warman claims is defamatory had been excerpts from an Ottawa Citizen article which was overall very favourable to Mr. Warman, but which listed some descriptions of what his critics were calling him… She was surprised he’d find this defamatory and one of the reasons she had posted it was precisely to show others what Mr. Warman thought constituted defamation.
Ms. Fournier testified that on the Free Dominion site, it was clearly marked that these were items Mr. Warman said were defamatory and in no way were they claimed to be statements of truth. It was there as a public service, to let others know where Mr Warman thinks the ‘red line’ lies.
I, myself, remember that, a few years ago, when Mr. Ezra Levant was being sued for defamation by Mr. Warman’s friend and former co-worker from the Human Rights Commission, Mr. Vigna, he had also posted all the legal documents on his website: both the notice of libel and his statement of defense. As did a number of other people sued by Mr. Warman and/or his friends/minions. From what I, the non-expert, had seen of the internet, this seems to be a pretty standard, non-controversial practice…these are, after all, public documents and as such, publishing them is newsworthy and good for society!
The other reason she had posted the notice of libel on Free Dominion, Ms. Fournier asserted, was to inform the John Does (who had not been identified so far) that they had become the subjects of a lawsuit.
One little interesting thing happened at about the time Connie was testifying about this: just 5 minutes short of noon, the Court Clerk we had had until now was replaced. It appeared to me to be not due to any fault but because she just had to be elsewhere. So, the Court Clerk with the most amazing strappy shoes left and we got one with great dangly earrings. I only mention this because in my limited experience, I’ve never seen it before…
Later, during cross examination, Mr. Katz had returned to this. Sorry to be jumping around, but it seems logical to me to finish the subject, even if the events were separated in time.
The questions Mr. Katz kept asking – at least, that is what my legally untrained mind made of it – he seemed to try to get Ms. Fournier to admit that she could have used non-public means to communicate the information about the lawsuit to both the John Does and the other members of Free Dominion, whom she was asking for help in this matter. For example, she could have sent them private messages or even emailed them….
Ms. Fournier pointed out the practical limitation of trying to send 8 or 10 thousand private messages…and if my very imperfect Aspie observations of the jury were correct, I don’t think Mr. Katz advanced his clients position through this line of questioning. Rather, it seemed to underline just how disconnected from reality Mr. Warman’s demands were…
The next bit of Connie’s testimony concerned (yes, we are back from the cross examination by Mr. Katz and back to questioning by Ms. Kulaszka) something called ‘Maximum Disruption Doctrine’ and Mr Warman’s speech to the Orwelian-ly named ‘Anti-Racist Action’ (ARA – sounds a lot like ‘NRA’, does it not?).
If you are not familiar with them, ARA use nasty techniques to target people who say things they don’t like – and they are not above not just doc dropping someone (and their family), but showing up by the bus-load at their homes or kids schools and protesting in less than pleasant manner. Think ‘union thugs in training’…
Mr. Warman had testified earlier that he had given the ARA one of his ‘standard presentation’ speeches, with a preface and a few jokes tailored for this group, to make it more particular to them. So far, so good.
In the opening remarks of this speech (and, I am trying to write as fast as I can at court, but I am a scientist, not a stenographer, so, if any readers out there have the exact wording, please post it in the comments for accuracy), Mr. Warman had made a joke about ARA members finding it surprising to know that he, Mr. Warman, had friends who were policemen – just as his police friends would find it surprising that he was friends with ARA people.
Ms. Fournier testified that this information had greatly informed her opinion regarding Mr. Warman: the joke would not have made sense if ARA members were peaceful, law abiding citizens on good terms with the police…
Later in this speech, Connie explained, Mr. Warman had said that while he had lived in Toronto, he had been an old school ARA member, or words to that effect (again, please, help me out in the comments, if you can).
And, Mr. Warman had, in that speech, defined his ‘Maximum Disruption’ method of harassing Neo-Nazis and people who annoy him – for fun. It was this bit that convinced Ms. Fournier that Mr. Warman’s goal was not conflict resolution but rather that he enjoyed the conflict itself and that later, when he made demands on the Fourniers under threat of legal action, he was not dealing with them in good faith and it would not have been possible for the Fourniers to satisfy his ever increasing demands.
Connie also testified that she had formed her opinion of Mr. Warman from his postings on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, to which she had been directed through having read about them when she read the transcripts and ruling from the Human Rights Tribunal. That was when she formed the opinion that he was ruining individual people’s lives as well as harming our society by giving support and encouragement to people who wanted to build Nazi organizations in Canada. She gave quotes of where he had done that, but I am not skilled enough to reproduce them accurately, so perhaps, later, when I can catch my breath and/or get access to the source material, I may re-visit this.
One very, very essential point that Ms. Fournier had made on the stand was that, while reading the Tribunal transcripts, she had realized that some of the speech Mr. Warman based this particular Section 13 complaint were actually verses from the Bible.
If verses from scriptures, the Christian’s Bible or any other religion’s holy books, were to be suppressed as ‘hate speech’, then freedom of religion would be seriously threatened!!!
It went on in much that flavour, until I had to leave during the afternoon break (previous obligation). I was fortunate enough to get this report about the last leg of the afternoon’s proceedings from another spectator (there were so many of us there today that we spilled over from the Fournier’s side of the courtroom benches to the middle, and Mr. Ike and a few others had to even sit on the prosecution side of the room!):
‘Too bad you couldn’t stick around for this afternoon’s proceedings in Court as Connie and Mark did very well in the hot seat up there.David Icke even came up to Mark and later Connie and congratulated them on their testimony.Mark gave a moving account of what it was like to have been hounded by Warman all these years. He said with the exception of just one week, all of their marriage has been involved in fighting off the assaults that Warman has hit them with. He talked about working 70 hours a week driving for a living as a long haul truck driver, keep driving an old car, and Connie having to quit her job to devote herself to fighting Warman, and working the website. Mr Icke told Mark that his honest speech was sure to have hit the jury more forcefully than all of the legal banter of Mr Katz.’
September 18, 2013 at 14:07
Excellent report. Thank you for your clarity and honesty.
September 18, 2013 at 15:59
Thank you again for your reports!
September 18, 2013 at 16:32
Most excellent! I am thinking IF Warman should win how that changes the Canadian internet. Anyone with a website, discussion group, or blog will suffer the danger of lawsuits of anyone’s comments on public figures. Fear will triumph over freedom…..most scary.
September 18, 2013 at 20:39
Holy Smokes Connie, well done!!
September 20, 2013 at 14:26
Well done, great reporting, my prayers are with Connie and Mark.
September 21, 2013 at 03:20
Looks to me like he’s a stalker
September 23, 2013 at 21:45
Predictably this trial is turning into a stupid farce and an unbelievable time-waster.