Disclosure: It may be important to note my past experience with PSAC, that very powerful and ruthless public sector union, of which Dr. Baglow testified he had been the Executive Vice President of.
When, decades ago, I was a wee little teenager, shortly after we came to Canada, my mom got a job where she was forced to become a member of PSAC. Back then, there was a lot of tension created by this most militant union. Once, just before a strike, my mom naively said she opposed the strike – within earshot of a union thug. We started getting phone calls at all times of day and night. My mom got threats that were not even thinly veiled. Once, a caller told her where I went to school, the times I walk there and back and the exact route I walk…
My mother was so frightened that she took a leave of absence until after the strike….and this event had, for ever, opened my eyes to the way labour unions in Canada function and ‘get things done’.
Thursday, day 4 of the trial, started with a bit of excitement.
Being a ‘morning person’ (that is, I hardly ever go to sleep until after I’ve said ‘hello’ to the morning), I find it difficult to actually be places at an uncivilized hour, like, say, 9:30 am. So, I missed the original action, but it had caused such a buzz and so much comment, I was soon filled-in on the situation. Like I reported earlier, witnesses were not allowed to hear each other’s testimony, nor was anyone allowed to tell them about it. Thus, as I left the court yesterday, Dr. Baglow was pacing expectantly outside of the courtroom, not being allowed to know what Mr. Bow’s testimony and cross examination brought out.
While surfing the net in the evening, Dr. Baglow accidentally encountered a blog which reported on day 3 in court – and thus Mr. Bow’s testimony!!!
How very, very unfortunate that out of the hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of blogs in the blogosphere, Dr. Baglow accidentally landed on the one and only blog in the world where the forbidden information was published…
Of course, being a moral and upright ex-union boss, as soon as he realized what he was reading, Dr. Baglow logged off right away.
There were only 2 observers in the courtroom who were blogging about the case, and I didn’t write up day 3 until yesterday, so we can narrow down pretty easily which was the blog in question. However, the court clerk and stenographer did not know that and the court clerk was sending daggers out of her eyes in my direction all morning.
I think the court clerk must have a very difficult and frustrating job. While I have never heard any of the other court clerks in the cases I have observed so far complain about their job, this one was more articulate. She kept explaining to anyone within earshot just how much more difficult they were making her job. And everything in the courtroom seemed designed to annoy her – from the way the chairs were arranged to the fact that some people left the courtroom through the left side of the door instead of using the right side only. Poor woman – so much responsibility and so many unnecessary obstacles were being hurled into her path.
And now this!
“Now I have to worry about being on some BLOG!!!’ she lamented at one point, as she shot me a particularly venomous look.
It must be a difficult job, indeed!
But, back to the substance of the trial. I am not quoting directly, but rather expressing my imperfect understanding of the testimony and cross examination. Timelines may be jumbled and at some points, I may put specific bits of testimony and cross examination together, to maintain the narrative.
As I came in, the blogger Jay Currie was under discussion. (Note – the linkie is to his new blog, which I quite like. The discussion here is about his old blog, which Dr. Baglow says was quite good, but I myself hardly ever went there as I simply did not like the format and feel of it.)
Jay Currie’s old blog was a bit of a cross-roads where a lot of unlike-minded people went to for ‘verbal fencing’ – not because they actually expected to convince anyone of the rightness of their point, but simply to bicker. Personally, I detest bickering, so I hardly ever went there and never took part in the pointless bickering. This was not the case for Dr. Dawg (Dr. Baglow’s online persona), nor for Peter O’Donnel, the other persona of Roger Smith.
At some point in time, Dr. Dawg had a private email conversation with Jay Currie, which he had subsequently learned was shared with Mark Fournier’s lawyer, Barbara Kulaszka. Dr. Baglow was deeply hurt and very disappointed by this breech of trust and invasion of privacy. Poor Dr.Baglow…
It is my guess that the emails referred to here were the ones which definitely established the identity of Ms. Mew as a handle of Dr. Baglow. Dr. Baglow insisted that everyone knew he was Ms. Mew as the nickname was an obvious play on ‘Dr. Dawg’. However, I suspect ‘everyone knew’ would not be a good enough identification for the courts….and nor would using Ms. Mew’s IP address, as numerous courts have ruled that an IP address cannot be used to identify a person.
Anyhow, at this particular time, Dr. Baglow testified, the online sparring in the comments between himself and Jay Currie had gone on for quite some time. Dr. Baglow was upset to find out that the offensive materials (those 7 little words, and, in my never-humble-opinion, had the article used been ‘a’ instead of ‘the’, we could not be here, in court – so, listen to all us Grammar-nazis out there, it may help you avoid a lawsuit!) would not be taken down and he was very, very hurt and angry.
The discussion now moved to something that had been written, but I could not see as the exhibits are not available to the spectators, but it was understood by the Fourniers as a threat to use the courts to bankrupt them – and thus was said to have demonstrated malice on the part of Dr. Baglow. If I am not mistaken, it was something like that when this was all done, he, Dr. Baglow, would get Roger Smith’s harpsichord and play it in Mark and Connie’s house, which he will have won in the lawsuit. Or something like that. The Fourniers and Roger Smith took this to be a threat of lawfare – where the process is as much of a punishment as any potential outcome (and something which spreads ‘libel chill’ throughout the blogosphere) but Dr. Baglow testified that this was just a bit of ‘bravado’ and ‘nothing to pay serious attention to’.
As a matter of fact, there were quite a lot of instances where Dr. Baglow was ‘displaying bravado’ or just writing words in frustration at having such an injustice committed against his person, and any words uttered in such a state of mind, no matter how derogatory or sexually degrading (those would be the ones directed at Connie Fournier, the lone female participant in this farce of a trial – and the one for whom Dr. Dawg’s vilest of insults were reserved), were not any evidence of malice or bad will, but just a symptom of frustration. Had the Fourniers been good little unwashed plebs, and done everything the intellectual Dr. Baglow demanded, they would not have brought such malicious invective on themselves!!! At times, I think Dr. Baglow felt quite hurt that the Fourniers, Connie in particular, had forced him to use such uncivilized language…
Please note, I am paraphrasing and getting the ‘gist’ of the testimony as I understood it, not quoting Dr. Baglow directly….and I am using the word ‘malicious’ in the colloquial, not the legal sense of the word as I have no legal training. And I am applying the word ‘malicious’ t the words used, not to D. Baglow. Just thought I ought to clarify that here, so nobody would be misled.
Aside: the kind of language that Dr. Baglow used was truly, truly ‘past colourful’. For example, he called a male blogger (not involved in this lawsuit) a ‘flaming …..’ where ‘…..’ is a word for female genitalia. Now, I don’t care how punny anyone thinks this may or may not be, but, using bits of female anatomy as an insult to hurl at another man: if THAT is not anti-woman hate-speech, I don’t know what is!!!
Dr. Baglow testified most vehemently that he does not approve of, indulge in or permit (on his blog) ‘Hate Speech’ of any kind. Whenever someone used the phrase ‘right to freedom of speech’, he made sure to insert the word ‘alleged’ before the word ‘right’ – with great emphasis.
His lawyer, Mr. Burnet, kept ‘fumbling’ the documents and getting the exhibits ‘mixed up’. And, at times, he kept ramming the left arm of his glasses into his left ear…. How exciting to witness such skillful courtroom theater!!!!
Another ‘current’ through this testimony was about likening Connie Fournier to Nazis. Perhaps not in name, but in imagery.
Dr. Baglow testified that he did not say Ms. Fournier was a Nazi, nor does he think that she is. But there were so many statements brought up during the testimony and the cross examination where Dr. Baglow used Nazi imagery that his professions seemed weak at best.
Then there was some testimony I could not follow, but it sounded as if Dr. Baglow were defending himself from accusations of having written that Judge Annis (the one that ruled that the ‘disputed words’ were not capable of being defamatory) – among other judges – was ‘in the pocket of the conservatives’… Please, do take care that I am stating, flat out, that I did not understand heads or tails of this bit of testimony – just that this is what it sounded like was happening. Mr. Baglow, while admitting to writing the words, denied most vehemently that this was their implication.
Then Dr. Baglow referred to 2 different studies – again, I had no reference, this was all in the documents I had no access to – that ‘proved’ one or another of his statements/positions. But, the judge stared at Dr. Baglow and verbally spanked him by pointing out that she read those two things and they were nothing like ‘scholarly studies’ but just the ravings of some inconsequential journalists. (Again, I am conveying my impressions of what happened, not the actual words uttered.)
Mr. Burnet asked Dr. Baglow if it is true that he wrote about a judge that he is guilty of statutory rape for having had sex with his baby sitter. Now, again, I did not have the documents in front of me, so my understanding is highly imperfect and I would love to be corrected, so that the record will be accurate. But, it seems that event though the babysitter was over the age of 16 (not statutory rape), the judge – as an employer of the baby sitter – was ‘an authority figure’ which Dr. Dawg thinks ‘bumps up’ the statutory rape thingy to 18, not 16. And, Dr. Baglow would appear to have been highly critical of this and he appears to have blogged his criticism. But, writing that ‘a man in position of authority’ was having sex with someone under the age of 18, as he asserted the judge had indeed done, this apparently did not imply, in any way, shape or form, that he was accusing that judge of statutory rape. And while I can respect his opinion and his original blogging thereof, I must admit I was disappointed in how he tried to walk this bit back…
The post by Dr. Dawg called ‘Off with his head’ – and referring to Prime Minister Harper – was also brought up, both during the testimony and the subsequent cross examination. While Dr. Baglow insisted this reference was satire, the fact that there actually was a real-life plot to behead our Prime Minister makes this assertion sound hollow, at best…rather, it would seem to (in my never-humble-opinion) a very thinly veiled sympathy and/or support for militant Islamist terrorists. OK, it was never openly stated in the testimony, but, it hung in the air like a miasma which all parties present pretend is not really there…silent, but palpable!!!
Then the issue of Fern Hill came up….
….I just realized I’m at over 2k words and we have not yet hit lunch!!!
Let me break here and start part 2 from the ‘Fern Hill’ bit.