John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 3

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

Day 5 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here and part 2 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.


Following up on Dr. Baglow’s ‘uncivil’ language regarding Kate McMillan, Mr. Frankel brought up Dr. Baglow’s testimony that he believes in being ‘uncivil towards the uncivil’.  In my never-humble-opinion, this was a low point for Dr. Baglow….being shown to have been ‘uncivil’ to Kate McMillan even after she had been so ‘civil’ to him!

It was at this point that the judge noted that the level of sarcasm on the blog posts she had read was incredibly high…and she questioned Dr. Baglow if all the blogs were like this.  He explained that no, not all were – for example, some of the anthropological blogs he frequents, even though they address controversial topics, they maintain an academic level of discourse.

Then we got into the Godwin’s Law…the discussion was predictable, as was the redirect regarding it.

Following that bit, Mr. Frankel went on to demonstrate that Dr. Baglow did not object to much more reputation-damaging statements than the impugned words, such as  being called ‘a shill for Hezbollah’ and ‘traitor’.  Dr. Baglow’s response to all this was ‘context’…as in, had it been in ‘different context’, he would have taken legal action against them, too.

Next Mr. Frankel concentrated on the difference between Dr. Baglow’s blog posts and his editorial pieces for the National Post (having convinced an editor by the name of Kelly McParland (sp?) that having a leftist’s POV would enrich the publication).

It seemed quite clear to me what he Mr. Frankel was doing (if, indeed, he was doing what I think he was doing):  he was demonstrating that the submission process to a newspaper – even an editorial – is much different than a blog post or comment for a blog post.

It also seemed to me that Dr. Baglow also saw where this was going and was doing his best to avoid going there…like saying that ‘he knew how an op-ed ought to differ from a blog post so there was no need for anyone else to make changes to it’ and so on.

Yet, Mr. Frankel got Dr. Baglow to admit that the comments to his blog were not read by him until after they had been posted – in other words, he had no ‘editorial  control’ over the comments posted on his site – while the op-ed pieces he submitted to National Post were not only groomed by himself to adhere to a different standard than a blog post would, but that they had to be vetted by the editor prior to publication.

To me – this is the key difference between the blogosphere/discussion forums and actual online publications:  the ‘newspapers’, even in their online versions, have editorial control of what they publish because they read and OK everything PRIOR to publication, while blog comments and discussion forum posts/comments are NOT read/vetted by the administration prior to publication.  Indeed, in the case of a discussion forum with some 10,000 users (like, say, Free Dominion), vetting all posts/comments by the administrators would not only be physically impossible, but leaving everything in a vetting cue would prevent the ‘online conversations’ which define the very nature of debate on discussion forums.

 Therefore, it is (and I am extrapolating where I think this argument was going) it is ridiculous to hold people who have not seen a comment/post to the same standard of responsibility for it as those who have read and vetted it.


The next bit of time was taken up with discussing one of Dr. Baglow’s least favourite politicians… Vic Toews.

Frankly, I did not really grasp the significance of all this – except to unmask the visceral hate Dr. Baglow has the capacity for.  I really did not understand how this bit impacted on the matter in hand…except that Dr. Baglow’s hate-on for this politician resulted in him posting some nasty stuff about him – stuff one might argue was more slanderous than ‘the impugned words’….  As in, it demonstrated Dr. Baglow had both written and published more ‘libel-worthy’ things about Vic Toews than had ever been posted anywhere about him self.

Dr. Baglow’s not entirely convincing response was that had he been called on it, he would have cowered in a corner and backed down with a generous apology.  (I am paraphrasing somewhat…but I found the answer to be less than convincing because Dr. Baglow would not look up while he spoke until almost the end and then hurriedly added that, of course, he would only do it for statements he thought were truly potentially defamatory – and that then he’d re-phrase them but, of course, he would not take down and apologize for frivolous claims…)

I know I am going over this in a LOT of detail – but, I do think that the CCLA’s participation as ‘a friend of the court’ in this matter is very, very important.  The outcome of this case will, after all, determine the freedoms all of us enjoy (or not) on the internet!!!

The next bit struck a little bit close to home for the CCLA:  supporting freedom of speech was being criticized as ‘enabling’ hate speech….

Yet, Mr. Frankel was able to turn it inside out and, after he got Dr. Baglow to admit that supporting free speech – even for neo-Nazis (as per some people’s definitions) could be perceived (and was repeatedly labelled as such by his ideological comrades, as well as Dr. Baglow himself) as ‘support for neo-Nazis’ (or other such ‘hate’ groups), then support for Omar Khadr and his ilk could, reasonably, be seen as ‘supporting’ – or, at least ‘giving aid and support/comfort’ to the Islamists/Taliban that Omar Khadr was working with. What’s good for the goose…

It was very well done and it revealed clearly demonstrated the ‘if one, then the other’ bit here.  I fully expect it to come out in Mr. Frankel’s closing argument.

I suspect this highlights the ‘important’ bits of Mr. Frankel’s cross examination.  I know, my write-up is verbose, but it took surprisingly little time – just over an hour!

The court took a little (less than an hour) break at this point. And, so shall I – leaving the rest for another post!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 2

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

Day 5 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

We re-join the action as Mr. Frankel, ‘the CCLA guy’ is cross examining Dr. Baglow.

Much of the next bit of cross examination was designed to demonstrate to the judge just how internet forums worked.  The post ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ was used as an example…

In is my strong impression that Dr. Baglow feels really, really badly about having used this phrase.  Not because it insults right-wingers, but because as an avowed blue-collar people defender he is supposed to be protective of our agricultural workers (I do believe this was the turn of phrase he used) and using the negative stereotype of the rural farmers as a smear against his ideological enemies comes dangerously close to lifting the proverbial curtain and revealing the champagne socialist behind it…

It is also my strong impression that Mr. Frankel noticed Dr. Baglow’s discomfort with having so bared his prejudices against our rural neighbours and agricultural workers and that this is precisely why he selected the ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ post as an example.

It is also my strong impression that Dr. Baglow understood perfectly well that Mr. Frankel saw through him and that that is why he elected to use this post as an example of ‘nesting’, as he (Dr. Baglow, that is) flushed and chuckled to try to hide his discomfort.

As I said before – look out for Mr. Frankel, he WILL become a superstar of our legal system!

This is the atmosphere in which Mr. Frankel’s cross examination of Dr. Baglow took place.


When Ms. Kulaszka cross examined him, D. Baglow was relaxed and calm.

When Connie Fournier examined him, he assumed a patronizing drawl, an air of impatient indulgence towards a particularly dense student as he alternately said he was baffled by the facts that things he had testified could not have happened had actually happened, explained his technical arrogance ignorance and, for a man in his prime , he certainly experienced a lot of memory lapses.  But, he kept his cool.

When under cross by Mr. Frankel, Dr. Baglow’s cheeks were flushed, he looked down a lot of the time and he seemed very uncomfortable in his seat.

Other blogs and bloggers were raised.  Two that came up a lot were Kathy Shaidle, the Canadian poetess and the grande dame of Canadian blogosphere, for whom Dr. Baglow had visceral contempt (which I found surprising, as she is an acclaimed poetess and Dr. Baglow has his doctorate in poetry – I would have thought there might  have been room for some common ground there) and Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals (SDA).

Disclosure:  when I first started blogging, it was Kathy Shaidle who reached out to me, even though we are not of the same ideological bend, welcomed me to the blogosphere and encouraged me to blog…as well as introduced me to several other bloggers.  It seemed to me that she did not care about my ideology but thought that the more varied opinions on the Canadian blogosphere there are, the better for everyone.  For her kindness and encouragement, I will always be grateful to her.

As for SDA – I am aware of the blog but, as I am not a fan of the format, I am really not aware of what goes on there.  I just don’t have the time to follow more than a handful of blogs myself.  Yet, after what I’ve heard of Kate McMillan in court, I just might stop by there and check SDA out!

It seemed that the very mention of Kathy Shaidle unsettled Dr. Baglow so much, the judge requested that Mr. Frankel go with the Kate McMillan example – which, with a satisfied smile (I saw that as he turned away from the judge and witness to permit himself that brief smile) he was happy to do. I suspect he wanted to go there all along….as that is where some rather unpleasant ‘stuff’ about Dr. Baglow came out.

A few years ago, Dr. Baglow’s partner suffered an illness, from which she eventually died.  Dr. Baglow was her support, her rock – and was understandably devastated by the loss of the partner he loved.  He has my deepest sympathies for his suffering and loss, which I am certain he still feels every day.

One of the people who expressed empathy to Dr. Baglow and his partner as they were undergoing these trying times was Kate McMillan of SDA.

Mr. Frankel established, through Dr. Baglow’s statements, that Kate McMillan had put aside all partisanship and supported Dr. Baglow on a human level when he needed it most.  For his part Dr. Baglow said he was grateful to her – and looked quite somber and sad as he seemed to know where the questioning was heading… It seems that even though she supported him in his hour of need –  human to human – Dr. Baglow had no difficulty in objectifying her as an ideological enemy, with no regard for her humanity, and calling her some truly vicious, unpleasant things.

Dr. Baglow explained that this was because they had had a ‘falling out’…

Sad, so sad…

And I suspect this was not lost on Madam Justice Polowin…

More installments coming soon!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7 part 1

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).

Day 5 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

Day 6 is here.

If you read the account of Day 6, you will have read that I struggled with traffic and lack of parking…

Well, today, on Day 7, I left plenty of time, altered my routes, but…  as the trial started later than yesterday, more parking lots had filed up!!!  As a result, I had to park even further away… and, if I may be blunt, I am not too good at walking.

I kept calming myself by the thought that in this particular court case, every morning, before any ‘real action’ starts, there are ‘procedural matters’ to take care of, so I was hoping not to miss much.  Yet, as I burst into courtroom #33 just a few minutes past 10 am where and when the court was due to resume, Dr. Baglow was already on the witness stand, being cross examined by ‘the CCLA guy’.

‘The CCLA guy’:

‘The CCLA guy’s’  name is Steven G. Frankel:  and, despite having admitted during a conversation yesterday that he is 30 years of age, I maintain that he does not look a day over 15!!!  That is a statement on his youthful good looks – not his ‘presence’:  when he opens his mouth, you can feel he is an alpha male, with all that this implies!  And brilliant!!!

If you are a fan of the legal ‘scene’, I would recommend keeping an eye on Steven G. Frankel – I predict that one day, he WILL head up the Supreme Court of Canada!!!

Here, I am going on both his presence in the courtroom and also from observing him in consultations with other, much older/more senior lawyers:  this guy is brilliant, quick and self confident.  Hands down, he is the most brilliant young lawyer I have ever (in my admittedly limited experience) seen!!!

Plus he is a fan of Zelda – just like my kids!!!  How much more awesome could one get?!?!?

Yesterday, during Day 6, when the self-represented Connie Fournier was having trouble phrasing a question properly, he just could not help himself, jumped up and, when the judge acknowledged him, offered a re-phrasing….  I think the judge really likes him, as he is intervening as a ‘friend of the court’ and in my never-humble-opinion, madam justice Polowin relies on his advice.  I suspect she sees in him the same brilliance I do….

But, I am getting ahead of myself!!!

As I got off the elevator on the 3rd floor, rushing towards courtroom #33, I could not help but be a little bit slowed down  by what I saw just outside the courtroom:  a whole pile of people, some sitting down with a protective hand on huge protective plastic crates, many others milling about nervously, wearing police uniforms – bulletproof jackets and all!

For a moment, I thought I had landed in alternate reality!!!

Note to self:  cut down on playing RPG games – it trains the imagination to go too far!!!

Then I realized that the metal detector ‘doorway’ and armed security guard was in front of courtroom #34 – not #33!!!

Later inquiry showed that in courtroom #34, Justice McKinnon was presiding over the criminal case of Regina (Crown) v. Ahmed, Misbahuddin (case # 10-30345) and that the hearing was in the 3rd of 8 scheduled weeks of hearings….

Is there not at least a touch of irony for this civil case, in which Dr. Baglow is suing everyone in sight for defamation for a 7-word exclamation that he was ‘a vocal supporter of the Taliban’, was being held right next door to the criminal case of a highly trained medical professional being tried for Islamic terrorism?

Back to the case in hand…

I burst into the courtroom with notebook and pen in hand, so as to cause as little disruption as possible.

Aside:  if, through reading my accounts, you have formed the impression that I have  difficulty being on time – you would be absolutely correct!!!  After all, I had started a small business and ran it for a decade  before my kids’ needs became great enough for me to sell it and become a stay-at-home-mom – the best, most rewarding career ever!!!!  But, I have been told that only people who completely underestimate how long ANYTHING will take would be foolhardy enough to start a small business….hence, I always underestimate how long it will take me to get anywhere….

Moments after I settled into a central seat (so as to offer me the best view of ‘everything’, I had shed my blazer.  it was warm -so warm in there!  The word ‘pressure-cooker’ came to my mind:  how much worse it must have been for all the lawyers and judge:  not only were they all clothed in black, they also wore the heavy woolen robes that differentiate lawyers, judges and court officials from the rest of us ‘unwashed masses’!

How glad was I of my plebeian status – I could shed my outer shell of clothing and reduce my heat-suffering…

While on the topic of clothing…

Connie Fournier wore a very feminine, short-sleeve blazer in spring green which was adorned by a broach made of the same navy-blue-cloth-with-tiny-spring-green-dots that her flattering dress was made of.

Mark Fournier looked fine in his blazer, black slacks and striped shirt/tie.  He was bristling with energy!

Dr. Baglow (by the way, his doctorate is in poetry – thank you, Dr. B., for letting me know) was elegant in his black suit, another open collared blue shirt and, of course, his signature spic-and-span riding boots!  A man in his prime.

For all his elegance, Dr. Baglow looked a bit flushed as I walked in – as I missed the bit that caused this, I cannot report on it – my apologies.  Mr. Frankel was in full swing!!!

Oh, how I wish I could have observed Mr. Frankel’s face as he worked his cross-examination!  But, the way the courtroom #33 is set up, there is one table for the attorneys/parties, and they sit with their back to the audience.  The judge faces us all, as does the witness, but the lectern for the attorney speaking is facing the witness box, not the audience…  Still, Mr. Frankel was dynamic and projected a presence that is hard to describe – just throw all the positive attributes you can think of at it and it will partially paint the picture.

As Mr. Frankel is intervening as ‘friend of the court’, he was suggesting different ways to help madam justice Polowin ‘get’ the blogosphere and message forums and the whole milieu.  Perhaps hooking up some visuals to the screens in the courtroom, demonstrating how things work (as madam justice repeatedly asserted she will never ever herself visit the blogosphere)…  Madam justice seemed quite happy about that suggestion and recommended this take place during the next block of days of hearings in this case.

Mr. Frankel was in full stride, getting the witness to explain the difference between blogs and a discussion forum, successfully describing in great detail just how many layers of menus one has to drill down through before one can actually see ‘comments’.  In my never-humble-opinion, this was groundwork for establishing just how nested – and difficult to come across accidentally – the ‘comments’ on various threads on Free Dominion were.

Jumping ahead – way ahead, to re-direct:  Mr. Burnet, Dr. Baglow’s lawyer, tried to  neutralize this during the re-direct (when the lawyer gets to ask his client questions to neutralize the cross examination):  Mr. Burnet went to ‘hyperlinks’ and just how easy it is to embed them into text – and that they will take you to the precise page, without all the nesting….  It took madam justice Polowin a lot to try to understand this – much back and fort, questions, answers from lawyer, plaintiff (witness) and all that – until Mr. Frankel pointed madam justice to a section in his own submission which deals with the jurisprudence on hyperlinks and explains the mechanism.

A bit of humour:  Mr. Frankel used the example of Montreal Canadiens hockey team for this – as a true-born Montrealler!  Madame justice responded that though she, too, is a born Montrealler, she is a Boston Bruins fan – as her longtime boyfriend was from Boston….  Yes, it was an illustrative example – but it also injected a bit of humanity into the hearing….

Much of the next bit of cross examination was designed to demonstrate to the judge just how internet forums worked.  The post ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ was used as an example…


More coming later today…