Dr. Baglow vs Freedom of Speech: September 18, 2014 – Part 1

This is a continuation of a prolonged court, the earlier bits of which are here:  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 is more or less covered by days 6 and 7.…  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… part 2 is here.

Dr. Baglow’s impression of my coverage of the court hearings, as per Twitter, is here.

September 15th, 2014 account is here.  Roger Smith presented his side of the story (defense) and was cross examined.

September 16th, 2014, was the second day of the trial phase where the defense gets to present their case.  Today was the day that, as Minister Jason Kenney referred to her, ‘the famous Connie Fournier’ took her place on the stand.

September 17th, 2014, the third day of this phase of the trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer finished his cross examination of Connie Fournier and Mark Fournier took the stand to both testify and be cross examined.

Today, the 18th of September, 2014, was a most tantalizingly interesting day in  court!!!  Today was the day that the court-appointed ‘internet expert’ was due to testify!!!

I must admit, I was terribly curious to meet this ‘political blogosphere expert’!!!

If you have been following my reporting on the legal encroachments on our unalienable freedom of speech for a while, you may note that over the years (!) of my observations in the courtrooms, this will have been the first time ever to hear ‘expert testimony’.

Exciting indeed!

So excited, I completely forgot to note down what shirt Roger Smith was wearing today – and as the days bled together, all I can swear to is that he wore tan slacks and a blue blazer (I could see those even from behind…).  My apologies.

Connie Fournier wore charcoal trousers with a narrow pinstripe, sensible square-toed shoes, a pretty tan blouse with bright red poppies and a matching blood red cardigan with shiny gold nautical-style buttons.  For jewelry, she wore a simple, elegant circle of tiny diamonds and pearls suspended on a golden chain.

She and I entered the courtroom a little early (the air was thick with expectations – you can’t blame us!), about 20 minutes before ten am when the court was due to reconvene.  Madam Court Clerk was already at her post, busily getting things ready for the day.  (We were back to the original Court Clerk – the same lady from the Spring who tried to persuade Dr. Baglow that he should like cats and who didn’t want to be blogged or Tweeted about.)

Our entry into the courtroom was an intolerable intrusion into these preparations.  Chastised, Connie and I took the hint and extramuralized velociotously.  This seemed to put Madam Clerk into a good mood, as later, she happily joked about tossing out somebody’s cigarettes and chattered about her background, both legal and pre-legal.  Mr. Frenkel turned on his boyish charm and Madam Court Clerk just melted!

Oh, yes – Mr. Frenkel from the CCLA was back in the courtroom and no longer stood in for by the nice young woman (I hope this is an OK turn of phrase).  He wore the traditional lawyer robes, but differed from the other lawyers present in that he wore very crisp gray pants, instead of the traditional black ones.  His youthful face was framed by glasses with serious, dark frames which added gravitas to his appearance.  He really is a brilliant young lawyer – a heavy hitter by any means of assessment!

Dr. Baglow sported a cream, opened necked shirt which contrasted strikingly with his black suit and his ubiquitous riding boots, also black, with adorable silver trimmings.  His watch was also silver, while the frames o his glasses looked to me a gun-metal coloured more than silver.  In the left lapel of his suit jacket, he wore a silver pin – perhaps some abstract maple leaf?  Dr. Baglow truly is a very handsome man, at the height of his strength.

The charismatic Mark Fournier wore his navy, pin-striped suit with a navy shirt.  His chiseled cheekbones were flushed with expectation and, when they thought nobody was looking, he and Connie held hands.  Sorry, ladies, this one is hopelessly in love with his wife!

Jeremy, a frequent spectator at these hearings, was back in the courtroom and everybody – on both sides of this lawsuit – was happy to see him.  Dr. Baglow even chatted with him shortly (they are both history buffs) and, I am afraid I must report that in the courtroom, Dr. Baglow used the ‘B’ word:  the one word which is still beyond the pale in the civilized parts of the Universe.  Luckily, the judge was not yet in and nobody else seemed to notice that word (or, perhaps, its signifacance)…

Now, Otawa is the Capital of Canada.

If it were up to Justin Trudeau, Ottawa would be the weed Capital of Canada.

As it is, our esteemed Mayor Watson and his eco policies have turned Ottawa into the ragweed Capital of Canada.

And, right now, we are at the height of the ragweed season.  Thus, everybody who has to speak for any length of time is struggling not to wheeze and cough all over the place.  This requires frequent sips of water and everyone is struggling to have a fresh supply of cough-suppressant candies, the consumption to which Madam Justice Polowing had excluded from the usual food/drink ban in the courtroom.

Which brings me to another little detail in the courtroom:  all the tables have an ample supply of silver carafes of water and everybody (well, the important people at the front of the room) has access to white styrofoam cups from which they can sip this water.

Except, of course, the judge.  She (or he, as it may happen) always has a classy tall glass filled with ice water on her high table!

This is yet another reminder of the status in the courtroom:  the ruler from on high gets the civilized glass cup, the courtiers up front (if you excuse the pun) get to sip the nectar from the styrofoam cups … and us peasants in the gallery don’t.

Interesting observation:  Dr. Baglow sits at the front table (which faces the Judge, the Court Clerk and Recorder and witness box) with his lawyer, while Mark Fournier, equally a participant in this, lets his lawyer represent him at the table and humbly sits in the spectator are with the rest of us peasants.  I have long wondered why this is so…and why this seems unquestioningly accepted by everyone, even when there was not enough room at the front table…

Oh, my – I’m rambling.  My apologies, my indulgent readers!  Let me get right down to the court expert!!!

The expert turns out to be none other than Dr. Greg Elmer.

A quick google search shows he is quite well known and respected, as you can see here (with a ‘roguish-grin’ picture), here, here and here.

Dr. Elmer looks to be in his early-to-mid forties, a competent, intelligent and gentle man.  His hair is cropped very short, according to the latest ‘almost bald’ style and his eyes are quick to smile, the rest of his face following quickly.  His handshake (yes, I introduced myself when he looked at me inquiringly as I looked him up-and-down and scribbled on my notepad (a new one, on sale at Staples – with red lines and a pretty shell-design in one corner – I am a sucker for stationery and have been, from my earliest childhood…and mid-September, one can get awesome deals on stationery!) furiously – so I thought I’d better say ‘Hi!’) was cool and confident.

His clothing was very dark and classy and blended harmoniously.  A black suit (and shoes and socks, of course), the shirt was a deep blackish-blue and his tie was ever so slightly brighter/warmer blackish-bluish-purple.  The overall effect was very pleasing and classy.

At the start of the day, Dr. Elmer looked a little apprehensive – as if he were not quite sure how all this was going to go down.  Don’t misunderstand me – he did not seem worried or scared  – just apprehensive and vigilant as intelligent people tend to be when they face a situation new to them:  trying to drink it all in and analyze it and do their best in a new situation.

Madam Justice Polowin breezed into Courtroom #20 at approximately 9 minutes after ten am and worked hard to put Dr. Elmer at ease.  (Madam Court Clerk recognized her footfall right away, as soon as the staccato of her high heels became audible, and alerted us to her coming from ‘behind the scenes’.)

She looked crisp and fresh – in her billowing black judges’ robe, crisp white collar, her look is accentuated by a red sash that marks her out as a judge.  And when I say ‘sash’ I mean a diagonal thing like ‘Miss America’ or ‘Miss Universe’ would wear – but red, substantial-woolen-looking and with no words on it.  Today, her look was accentuated by delicate pearl stud earrings instead of the earlier delicate gold ones.

Madam Justice Polowin seems to like Mr. Frenkel – who is from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which, in turn, is an impartial intervenor in this case – and she relies quite a bit on his advice.  No, not all the time, but the Judge seems to trust him, as he is not part of either side in this debate and so he can be more impartial, his only goal being a good and just legal precedent in Canada, with no financial or otherwise vested interest in one or the other party winning.  Plus he comes across as an incredibly intelligent man, wise beyond his years.

Thus, Madam Justice Polowin entrusted Mr. Frankel with the admin bits of entering Dr. Elmer’s CV and particulars of how he had been engaged to come to court into the record, then jumping through the necessary legal hoops of having him formally qualified as ‘a court expert’.  It started out slowly, but, once done, Madam Justice was pleased to tell Dr. Elmer that now, he can add to his CV that he is a qualified court expert (the exact wording of his ‘expertise’, as per Madam Polowin, was so convoluted only a real-life-lawyer could get it and I most certainly could not wrap my pen around it, but it was something like expert…blogosphere…social…media…communication…political…plus-plus-plus…).

The upshot of all this was that Dr. Elmer knows his stuff, is good in ‘new media’, internet, blogs, message boards etc. with special focus on politics and Canada.  He studied it, lives it, teaches it and researches all aspects of it.  He gets to be a TV ‘expert’ on it – plus he has published a lot, including in ‘peer reviewed’ thingies.

Big Dog!

The only bit about him I did not like was his casual use of the word ‘collaborative’/’collaborate’.  Where I come from, ‘collaborators’ are lined up against the wall and shot – and the ‘normalization’ of this word necessarily includes the normalization of the practice of ‘collaboration’…something that ought to be avoided by moral people everywhere….  Aside from this (and I know I am bucking the trend here – but I AM RIGHT), I liked this court expert a lot!

Aside:  Dr. Elmer testified that, ‘in collaboration with others’, he created a ‘scraper tool’ – a bit of technology that collects data about people from social media sites – my ‘NSA warnings’ went off on that….think ‘Person of Interest!’

The next bit of questions/answers (between Mr. Frankel, the Judge and Dr. Elmer) was about the specifics of this case.

Did Dr. Elmer look through the Free Dominion site and Dr. Dawg’s Blawg?

No, he did not – not specifically.  Because he thought it would have been prejudicial – so once notified, he avoided them, even if he was aware of them before.

The judge regretted that, a it limited her questioning to the ‘general’, not ‘specific’ bits….but agreed that for the optics, this was likely better.

A bit of back-and-forth, but, eventually, it all got worked out, Dr. Elmer’s report got accepted as evidence and ‘fact’ without needing to be read and all that kind of good stuff.  Which, in the legal order of things, brought us to the cross examination of the expert witness.

Mr. Burnet, the plaintiff’s lawyer, got the first crack at Dr. Elmer.

Now, I must qualify this:  as at mid-day every day for the next few months, I have an obligation – and so I had to leave at 5 to 10 minutes after 11 am.  I return to the courtroom as quickly as I can, but, it does mean that today, I only caught the beginning of Mr. Burnet’s cross examination, as well as all of Ms. Kulaszka’s (Mark Fournier’s lawyer) and Connie Fournier’s cross examinations.  For this, I do apologize – but, obligations do intrude on my ‘court time’! The best I can do is tell you, my dear readers, what I saw and heard.

Mr. Burnet started the cross examination ‘softly’, but got ‘tough’ rather quickly.  If I ‘got the drift’ of where he was going with his questions, it seemed to be about people being able to find things out about people who post opinions, etc., online.  As in, employers or potential employers often ‘google’ their employees or potential empoyees….can get into trouble, loose a job or not be offered one.

Dr. Elmer agreed – but in a qualified way.

As in, one can track if someone is tracking them online – but they would have to actively track it, have purchased metrics services, etc., which not everybody does.  Thus, some people may remain unaware of who searched them up on the interwebitudes and what they found – and may use the info.

As I absolutely had to leave, Mr. Burnet was just getting started on the Rehtaeh Parsons sad, sad story and trying to use her tragedy to ‘score points’ – something I found rather distasteful and a bit ‘cheap’.

[Edit:  I took out the last clumsy sentence, as it was speculative.]

 

 

 

 

Invite: 161 Elgin Street, Ottawa Court House, Sept 4: 9.00am, Court Room 7

Earlier in August, I watched an interesting case be argued (though very briefly) in Ontario Court.

I even started writing it up – though, thanks to a fever, I did not yet finish (it is far too complex for me to try to accurately report when I am still a bit feverish – please, forgive me the delay, it is in the name of accuracy).  However, what I have written so far about it is here:

In Part 1 of this series, I explained a little of the background of the ongoing Presto scandal, which has already cost Ontario taxpayers half-a-billion dollars – and how a concerned taxpayer (hereafter referred to as CT) had searched for who was behind this…and discovered the documents had been signed by none other than Kathleen Wynne, then Ontario Minister of Transportation and now the Premier of Ontario.

In Part 2 of this series, I explained a bit of how the Canadian/Ontario justice system function:  in order to safeguard from a government that will either fail to bring charges against certain individuals or will not uphold certain laws, each and every citizen has the power to, as a private person, lay criminal charges.  However, this safety-valve (a citizen-empowering protection against a corrupt government) is immediately eviscerated by permitting the government of the day, called ‘The Crown’ and represented by the office of the Attorney General of Ontario, who both employs all the crown prosecutors and is appointed by/serves at the pleasure of the Premier of Ontario, can take over any private prosecution and stay the charges for ever….and the example of Gary McHale in Caledonia was explained.  (This very legal precedent was cited heavily by The Crown representative in this court hearing.)

In Part 3 of this series, I explained a bit about the concept of ‘summary dismissal’ – using the example of Baglow vs. Free Dominion and John Does as an example.

In Part 4 of this series, I sketched the atmosphere that morning and wondered at the difficulties our wonderful civil servant had in telling everyone – the plaintiff included – where the hearing is to be held.

Well, even before I can write up the last bit, the next chapter is being written.  The plaintiff, a concerned taxpayer (CT), is going sent me the following little invite:

 

 

Invite: 161 Elgin Street, Ottawa Court House, Sept 4: 9.00am, Court Room 7

On August 18, the Judge ruled that Applicant may bring proceeding against the Ontario Government, and the Crown must delegate authority to intervene to the Federal Director for Public Prosecutions. A concerned taxpayer brought the motion and it will be heard on Sept 4 at 9am. The issue is the threats by former MTO Minister Kathlynne Wynne to force TTC and OC Transpo to breach the Federal AIT (Agreement on Internal Trade) and Federal Gas Tax which has cost taxpayers up to $0.5 billion enrichment for private interests at taxpayers expense.

If you’re in the area and can spare the time, I hope to see you there!!!

Baglow v Free Dominion has become an Internet test case!

From Connie and Mark Fournier:

 

New news in the Baglow Trial

The court has now appointed an expert witness (that the parties have to pay for), and the “three-day” trial that turned into seven, now has seven additional daysscheduled in September!!

It is obvious that the court is serious about wanting to make case law regarding internet defamation, and that Baglow vs Free Dominion is now the test case.  We are doing our best to make sure that the decision is one that will help put an end to frivolous internet defamation lawsuits for good!

We’ve started a fundraiser to help pay for the court-appointed expert and for the additional court days.

You can help us by making a donation and/or by sharing our fundraiser link on your social networks!

The outcome of this case is important to all of us!

We can add offline donations to our fundraiser total now, so, if you prefer:

You can use PayPal by clicking this link:  Donate
 
or

If you feel more inclined, you can also help out using an Interac Email Money Transfer to connie@freedominion.ca .

Alternatively, our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than anything else!  Thank you so much for your faithful support! 

Fondest Regards,
  
Connie and Mark

 

Palestiinan Envoy to UNHRC: Israelis Warn Civilians Before Attacks, We Don’t

This is the big difference between the Palestinian terrorist of Hamas and the law-abiding Israeli Military:  The Israeli military warns civilians to get out of the region they are about to attack so that non-military people, civilians, will not be caught in the crossfire and injured or even killed…while the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas are telling the innocent Palestinian civilians to stay, so that they will be hurt and killed and they, the terrorists, can use the civilians’ suffering in a propaganda war!

Yes, I have been saying this for years – but now, even the Palestinian Envoy to the UNHRC is daring to speak this truth:

If you still don’t believe that the ancient hatred of anti-Semitism is the same beast in a new cloak, styling itself  as ‘anti-Zionism’ and ‘reasonable’ criticism of the country of Israel, just listen to the venom of the ‘anti-Zionists’ and their unbridled Jew-hatred:

 

 

 

 

Ezra Levant – Assault at Palestine House

More on Thursday’s anti-Semitic violence in the Greater Toronto Area:

FIRE Announces the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

A fitting post for the 4th of July!!!

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 5

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 was going to be written up later, but….  As I was writing up the background needed to accurately portray the events of day 7 (parts 4 and up), I realized that I am describing much of the material that came out on day 5 and that a separate write up would be redundant.

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

Part 4  left off just as Dr. Baglow explained that he had produced email communication for discovery from the period that he believed ‘the comments’ had disappeared from his old blog, but not the period that the defense claims the comments ‘had been disappeared’, because he simply thought they were not observant enough to notice that the materials they need for their case had disappeared months earlier…

This had actually come out on Connie’s cross of Dr. Baglow on day 6 – but the background had to be explained in order for my report on the events of day 7 to make sense.

As a result of the now defined and testified to difference between the two time periods under discussion, Connie Fournier asked the judge to direct Dr. Baglow to produce the emails they had actually asked for instead of the ones he thought they ought to have.

Which the judge did.

…and which Dr. Baglow had indeed produced – on the morning of the 7th day in court….long after Mr. Bow’s cross examination had finished so he cannot even be cross examined as to the content within them. And Dr. Baglow cannot testify to anything about Mr. Bow’s side of the conversation, as he is not Mr. Bow.

Nice, non?

OK, so Dr. Baglow had finally disclosed the emails from the requested time period on the morning of the 7th day of court….and he even visibly hedged when describing the emails, saying these are the emails from this time period ‘that he thought were relevant’ – immediately raising in me the question whether there were others that the defense might deem relevant but he did not  and so they would not have been disclosed…but I guess that is just my literal Aspie mind!!!

It was during Dr. Baglow’s cross examination by Connie Fournier regarding these late-disclosed-emails (which she had only 50 minutes to review before having to cross examine him on them!!!)  that I reflected on Dr. Baglow’s past as a high-ranking member of PSAC (that’s pronounced P. S. A. C. – Dr. Baglow is not fond of the usual ‘Pee-sack’ pronunciation and testified so in court earlier), a behemoth of a public sector union.  I could juxt picture him in labour negotiations, sticking to his line, appearing reasonable and affable (he can be incredibly charming), and making the most unreasonable labour demands sound like reasonable, middle-of-the-road compromises.

Aside:

This is, again, my literal Aspie mind at work here, but…it seems to me that if a group of organizations has to specifically be exempted from being charged under the racketeering laws, then they are (by definition) a form of legalized racketeering.

 Now had we had a market system (instead of the fascistic crony-capitalism system we actually have now – and I am using the word fascistic in its core meaning:  the collusion of government, big business and big labour against the rest of society), this would be self-correcting in the private sector:  if the labour unions raise labour costs to an unsustainable level, the company goes bankrupt and a correction occurs.

But, in the public sector, unsustainable labour costs get passed down to the taxpayer until the society itself becomes bankrupt and collapses.

That is why I consider public sector union to be the cancer which is weakening our society and hastening its demise.

And, I say this as someone who had been a member of both a private and public sector unions…I’ve see the rot from the inside!!!

In my defense, I was young and when I learned the truth, I took a lower-paying non-unionized job…and felt the cleaner for it!  After all, we Aspies like the laws to apply to everyone equally… As my favourite philosopher of the 20th century once said:  a person’s a person, no matter how small!

In other words, I was admiring Dr. Baglow’s self control and ability to be completely non-pulsed and to appear relaxed even as clear contradictions to his sworn testimony were pointed out.  I could certainly not handle it with such grace…

But, not Dr. Baglow!

Cool as a cucumber, he stuck to his line that all the comments had disappeared in November 2010 and he was positively baffled that the defendants could access them as late as March and/or April 2011!  Not only could he not explain that discrepancy to them, he would have been glad had someone could explain it to him – after all, he testified, he is technologically quite ignorant…

 

When Madam Justice Polowin had a question about IP addresses, Dr. Baglow was very helpful to the court and correctly explained in great detail some very technical aspects of how the internet protocol worked – he spoke with the ease of an expert going over familiar ground and I was very impressed.

But, I digress…

Once the comments had stopped being visible (for whatever reason and at whatever time period) on the internet, the defense had asked for them in disclosure.

From what I understand, after a lot of hum-ing and haw-ing, a TEXT file with tens of thousands of comments, interspersed with code and completely devoid of context (i.e. missing such details like which posts they were in response to, other comments in their thread and their position in that thread – these had been completely stripped out).

As it was a text file, it was not possible to convert it to an actually usable format….

Dr. Baglow explained that they had submitted the comments in that format ‘in order to help the defense’…

Aside:  an unimportant observation… Whenever Dr. Baglow is about to say something particularly patronizing or obfuscating – especially to Connie Fournier – he takes a moment, tilts his head back, glares down his nose at Connie, and only then speaks.  I have no idea why, but it is a definite pattern…

It seems that Connie Fournier had not considered this to ‘be helpful’ and thought it an attempt at sabotaging the defense – and she objected to it.

From what I gather, she objected most vociferously!

It then (if I understood Dr. Baglow correctly) still took Dr. Baglow/Mr. Bow a couple of weeks to produce the comments in a format that was sortable and workable with.  Indeed, Connie Fournier had produced a sample page showing how the comments (as Disqus files) were sortable and searchable.

Now that I have explained a little bit about the background of ‘the comments’, I can return to Connie’s cross of Dr. Baglow.

Connie had singled out one email in particular – dated, if I am not mistaken (please correct me if I am), April 3rd, 2011 – that appeared to be a ‘test comment’….since the word ‘test’ or ‘testing’ appeared on it and it had the identifier of having come either from Dr. Baglow himself or from someone who had his administrative identifiers.  Once she established the date of the comment, entered the content, and demonstrated the identifier, Dr. Baglow claimed to have absolutely zero idea of how this could possibly have happened.

He was positively baffled – and looked up to the ceiling as he asserted so.

Well, well, well…

It seems that in one of the emails between the two of them – but only disclosed on the morning of the 7th day of the originally 3-day court hearings – Dr. Baglow had sent Mr. Bow his administrative id and password.

And the email came just before the time/date stamp of the ‘test comment’ from, I believe, April 3rd, 2011…

Now, if the plaintiff and his IT guy were testing the appearance of comments in 2011, why would they believe them to have disappeared in November of 2010?!?!?

As they say – the plot thickens!!!

Before the significance of the ‘gotcha’ could sink in on all present, Dr. Baglow laughed heartily and in a jovial manner informed all in the courtroom that he had since changed this password!

Madam Justice Polowin smiled indulgently and assured him that she has no intentions of using that password to access his blog…

I must admit, the deflection was skillfully executed – and again, in my mind, I was picturing Dr. Baglow sitting at a labour negotiations table.

Let me end here.  There is very little more to come – some more of my observations and, perhaps, something about the pleasant conversations Dr. Baglow and I have enjoyed during some of the breaks.

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