Today, Monday, March 24th, 2014, was the first day in the ‘FULL TRIAL’.
First, a few caveats:
* My computer has died and I am sending it in for service: this means I have borrowed equipment (my long suffering hubby’s tablet) and this is NOT the ‘ideal’ blogging medium under any plausible definition… so, instead of highlighting or bolding, I will have to capitalize for emphasis. I am not shouting, just emphasizing - my apologies.
* Due to this really, really slow machine with none of ‘my stuff’ on it (and my limited access to it, as I get to ‘share’), I don’t have the quotes/links to previous/cited cases and so on. I could get them, if I had the time online, but, currently, I do not. I may – time and technology permitting – re-visit this post and insert quotes and/or links at a later date when time and internet access are more under my control.
* Due to me being me – and a certified Aspie to boot – my observations are very, very limited. They are limited both by my lack of legal training (my area of education is Physics, not Law) and my linguistics (while I may have beecome fluent in 5 languages by the age of 13, I have never mastered ‘legaleese’). I cannot highlight it this mchine, so I cannot link: please check out ‘Asperger’s on Wikipedia to understand my limitations in abilities to ‘get’ some of the nuances of what went on: however, if you are ble to correct me or explain any of my observations more accurately than I, please, I TRULY BEG YOU: COMMENT!!! Help others get a better, more accurate picture of what is going on, I would much rather be corrected than go on in ignorance at any time, on any topic, so, please help me and anyone else reading this get a more insightful picture of the situation, if you possibly can.
TLDR: this will be a condensed, highly personal and highly imperfect account of my admittedly falliable observaions of this first day of the FULL TRIAL of this particular defamation case. If you can correct me and/or are willing to add to it, please, do! As I have borrowed and klunky tech, I cannot highlight or link or spellcheck – sorry…
Connie and Mark Fournier are the operators of Free Dominion, oldest and longest running political forum in Canada until it was sued into silence by Richard Warman.
Roger Smith, aka Peter O’Donnel (and not just online), is a member and frequent content supplier on Free Dominion and elsewhere on the blogosphere.
John Baglow, aka ‘Dr. Dawg’, aka ‘Ms. Mew’, is a guy who is a retired civil servant and unionist, a self-proclaimed leftist activist, an avid blogger, a Richard Warman groupie (imnho), and a guy with a pechant for black riding boots with the most adorable little silver trimmings.
Please note: all my own dealings with either John Baglow or ‘Dr. Dawg’ have been very amicable and positive. I have, in the past, asked him to get me in touch with another progressive blogger I have crossed swords with amicably in the past (I may hold many of the so called ‘progressive views’, but disagree with most of the so called ‘progressive metods’ of achieving them) and he had done so very quickly and courteously. I was seeking some help/publicity for some Tibetan refugees to Canada and Mr. Baglow has provided it and been very nice to me throughout – and, by extension, to them.
I have found him to be pleasant and charming when ever I have interacted with him. In fact, I find him quite charismatic.
And, I find it admirble that he has brought a young man I presume to be his step-son to the courthouse to observe civic cases: it is imperative that we get the next genetration interested in our civics, and I give praise to all who do. Kudos to him for that!!!
Yes, I bash when bashing is due, but I also give credit when that is due, too…so, please, don’t sue me!!!
This particuar ‘flame war’ started on the blog of Jay Curry and bled over to a number of online spots, including Free Dominion, where the 7-word phrase this courtcase is about was posted by Roger Smith. I am afraid to report what those 7 offending words were, because from the Richard Warman legal precedent, if I, as a private person, publish the ‘public’ documents of what had been filed at court, I, too, might become liable for ‘re-publishing’ those ‘defamatory’ words.
Yes, it is a matter of ‘public record’.
And, yes, it is ‘factual reporting’ of a ‘public document’….or what was said on public record in a court of law and thus apart of ‘public record’…
Afte the latest Warman vs. Free Dominion and John does decision, that is no defense: if the factual record is, at some later point in time, found to be defamatory, the factually reporting on it on the internet is considered to be ‘re-publishing the defmatory statements’ and it would open me to liability. So, my reporting of tody’s events will necessarily be highly constrained.
The subject of the ‘flame war’ was Omar Khadr, his inaccurate (as per UN’s definition) characterization by ‘Dr. Dawg’ as a ‘child soldier’ and the implications of willfully promulgating this demonstrably inaccurate legal description. Peter O’Donnel’s opinions complied with the UN’s legal definition (thus leaving Omar Khadr outside of the protections UN grants to ‘child soldiers’) while Dr. Dawg attempted to draw the moral high ground by inaccurately describing the Taliban terorist as a ‘child soldier (in the legal, not colloquial, definition) and then demanded the legal protections for Omar Khadr that are only available to UN-defined ‘child soldiers’….a demostrable and rather glaring hypocrisy which ‘Peter O’Donnel’ pounced and opined upon.
In many online spots.
On Free dominion, he opined so in 7 words which I dare not repeat.
These 7 words that ‘Peter O’Donnel’ posted – and which, he asserts, are his honestly held opinon, shared by some 8 million Canadians (according to his opening statement), are the ‘basis’ of this lawsuit.
It was originally dismissed as a frivolous and a vexatious lawsuit. (And, I reported on it – oh, how I wish I could link!!! The more I use it, the more I loathe this borrowe tech!!!)
Then, it was appealed – and several judges agreed that internet ‘flame wars’ were ‘legally uncharterred terrtory’ and that some ‘precednt-setting rulings’ need to be made here. Just so us iternet folks would know where the actual boundaries lie…you know, so we could stay within the lines, the lines are your friends…..(OK, old commercial – but applicable!)
Thus, we have a ‘FULL TRIAL’
TLDR: trial, ruling against Baglow (frivolous), but no legal rules for ‘internet flam war’ so FULL TRIAL to set ‘legal precedent’. Baglow: cute guy, charismatic and nice, wrong side of argument here.
OH, MY – OVER A K OF WORDS AND I HAVE NOT STARTED ON TODAY’S EVENTS YET…..deepest apologies, just trying to get the parameters in before I start today’s observations, as I honestly cannot afford to get sued…
These are the facts as posted outside the courtroom #24 at the Elgin St. Courthouse on the 24th of March, 2014:
Justice: Polowin, J.
Plaintiff: Baglow, John
Lawyer: Burnet, Peter Francis
Defendant: Smith, Roger
Lawyer: Kulaszka, Barbara
Lawyer: Kulaszka, Barbara
Mr. John Baglow turned up as well groomed as ever: a dark suit, a blue-collar shirt and them cute riding boots with the adorable silver trimmings he has become so well known for. He knows what he looks good in and uses it well!
Connie Fournier wore a classy, slim-line dark skirt with a gray pattern, a pretty blouse with a multi-red abstract pattern and a red blazer that accented the blouse perfectly – with an understated, classy gold/gold-tone diamond/rhinestone necklace (sorry – I am not knowledge-able enough to tell the two apart…it was ‘understated’ and ‘classy’ at the same time and I wish I could pull a similar look off….Connie looked smart and classy and – well, we have words for women like that!!!).
Roger Smith wore a blue blazer and khakis – understated, yet elegant. With his silver-kissed hair, he was easily the most attractive person in the courtroom.
The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a tweed jacket and slacks and, despite his bigger-than-life persona, tried his best to stay in the background.
In addition to the people listed above, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association were interveners in this case – as friends of the court – on the side of the defendants. The lawyer sent to represent them was a young man named Steven Frankel – and while he had a wedding ring on the ring finger of his left hand, he looked younger than either of my sons. OK – I officially feel old now….but, when he spoke, he sounded really, really smart!
And, of course, the judge…
Madam Justice Polowin, J., presided over the case.
She looked sharp, with her pale hair cut short-ish, slicked back at the temples and wonderfully fluffy on top, she wore understated light stud earrings (pearls?) and her judge’s robes flowed playfully about her slight frame. She self-admitted to being a luddite (knowing how to send and receive emails – but nothing else on the internet) and asked for every bit to be explained, internet technology and jargon and culture included.
I see now that it is way late, and I plan to be back in court to observe tomorrow – so I must suspend my narrative here. Let me just state that, at the end of the day, Madam Justice Polowin stated (at the end of the day) that even though the trial had been scheduled for Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, she sees no way they’ll get through it all (while doing a proper and thorough job of examining the underlying issues, as the appellate court had directed) by the end of this week and so participants ought to alter their travel plans accordingly…