Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does – the Jury Trial (day 8)

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.  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.

Day 7’s events can be read here.

It is getting harder and harder to juggle ‘things’ so that I can make it to the courthouse to observe.  Day 8 of the proceedings was no different:   could not make it in until the afternoon session.  Before I describe what I saw, I think it will not hurt if I re-state my biases, as I necessarily have them and the readers should be aware of them.

I am a free speech absolutist and an anti-slavery fundamentalist – which necessarily makes me a voluntaryist to a great degree (though I do stop short of anarcho-capitalism).  Prior to covering the Warman vs Free Dominion legal saga, I did not know either party, have never been a member of Free Dominion or even went to their site.  Over these past 3+ years, I have developed a genuine affection for and admiration of the Fourniers.  I have exchanged a polite ‘Thank you’ with Mr. Warman every now and then when we held the courtroom doors for each other.

From the tidbits of information I have managed to scrape together about the morning’s events, I did indeed miss much that was important.  Jason Bertucci, aka Faramir and one of the defenders represented by Ms. Kulaszka gave his testimony, as did another person (I did not write down the name, so I’ll have to confirm who…).  Apparently, Mr. Katz had softened from his previous adversarial style of questioning (imagine a US TV show).

Still, the defense was optimistically hopeful of the morning’s events.

The court re-convened at 14:04 and the judge asked Ms. Kulaszka what was her next step.  She replied that her witness, Mr. Paul Fromm, was waiting outside.

Thus, the jury was brought in and at 14:07, the bailiff went and fetched the witness.

The witness was sworn in on the Bible and stated his full name to be Frederick Paul Fromm.  He wore a dark suit with a dark red kerchief in the pocket, white shirt and a dark tie with a gold coat-of-arms type repeated motifs separated by a thin gold stripe.  With his graying hair and understated glasses, he looked very distinguished.

Considering that the plaintiff tried to cast Mr. Fromm (rightly or wrongly) as a neo-Nazi, I think his testimony (and cross-examination) were much more favourable for the defense than the prosecution.

I’ll jump around – in time, that is – to make it a narrative which is easier to follow…

Mr. Fromm started off testifying that he was with an organization called ‘Canadian Association for Free Expression’.  As such, he is committed to freedom of expression, even if the speech itself is politically unpopular.  (I am paraphrasing here.)

Then, he delved into ‘the Zundel saga’.  Mr. Fromm explained that whether he agreed with Ernst Zundel’s views or not, he found the process the government had subjected him to to be unconstitutional and had organized public protests in order to say so.  (He was, of course, later vindicated as the process itself was, indeed, found unconstitutional by the courts.)  As a result of these protests, he became the target of the Anti-Racism Association, the ARA, which had played such a significant part in the trial earlier.

If you don’t remembe the ARA, Mr. Warman had given a speech at one of their events during which he joked that the ARA members would be just as surprised that he has police officers as friends as his police officer friends would find it surprising to find Warman had friends among the ARA, Mr. Warman had identified himself as having belonged to the ARA while he had lived in Toronto and outlined his ‘Maximum Disruption’ doctrine to be used against either neo-Nazi groups or just for fun, against people who annoyed him…Connie Fournier had testified that this very speech had greatly informed her opinion of Mr. Warman.

One of the statement which Mr. Warman is seeking compensation for defamation is the claim that he had paid for a bus that brought the ARA to a rather ‘vigorous’ demonstration at Mr. Fromm’s house because, as he had testified earlier, Mr. Warman had stated that being accused of financing an urban terrorist organization would be damaging to the reputation of a practicing member of the bar…from which I can only conclude that Mr. Warman himself considers the ARA to indeed be a terrorist organization…

Mr. Fromm had testified that many of the people against whom Mr. Warman had laid complaints against under Section 13 of the Human Rights Act (HRA) were very poor and could not afford legal representation in front of the Tribunal.  Unlike in a real court, where one has to be either self-represented or represented by an actual lawyer, the pseudo-courts that are the HR Tribunals are not so strict about any of the legal procedures and anyone can be represented by a citizen who acts as their agent.  In this capacity, Mr. Fromm had represented Jessica Beaumont, Terry Tremaine, and a number of others.

He had done his best to help these poor, unsophisticated people defend themselves against the ‘Maximum Disruption’ assault launched by Mr. Warman.  But, back to the ‘Zundel’ bit:  and, again, I am jumping back and forth in time (testimony-wise, cross-examination and re-direct…) in order to have continuity in narrative.

It was established that Mr. Zundel had been the subject of protests (and/or threats by the ARA).

It was testified to (by Mr. Fromm) that the arsonists who had set fire to Mr. Zundel’s house were never criminally charged.

When the ARA protested in front of Mr. Fromm’s house (and trespassed on condominium property and greatly terrorized his neighbours), they chanted “Nazi scum, out out out!” – but, later, he testified that the ARA members threatened to ‘burn him out just like Zundel’… the implication of terrorist threat being rather obvious and not in the least conrtrovened by anything Mr. Warman’s side had to offer.

On cross examination, Mr. Katz brought out that Mr. Fromm had been a teacher, who had been fired from his job…but, his students from various cultural and racial backgrounds had protested his firing and even made a video in his support, testifying how he had not only taught them to achieve but also to have raised their self esteem and their self-confidence.

In the end, Mr. Katz introduced the letter of dismissal from when Mr. Fromm had been fired from his teaching job and had questioned Mr. Fromm on it.  I could not get the exact wording written down during testimony, so I asked him to repeat the exact wording to me after the court session was over.

Mr. Fromm said the letter said he had been fired because of his ‘persistent disregard of and contempt for multicultural and ethno-centric cultural equity, which are core values of the education system’…  He explained that he thought the core values of the education system were ‘reading, writing, mathematics, computer literacy, self discipline, co-operation with others’ and so on…

At this, both sides rested.

Monday, day 9 of the court proceedings, would be about the lawyers and the judge haggling out the questions for the jury – the jury itself would be excused.

An alternate view of the events can be read here.

 

Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does – the Jury Trial (day 7)

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.

Aside:

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.’

Some word-definitions

Today was day 5 of the Richard Warman vs Free Dominion jury trial.

Unfortunately, I did not feel well today and could not attend – my apologies for those who came here for a report.  Nor have I yet heard from anyone who had been in the courtroom, so I truly have no indication of what transpired…

So, in the meantime, I would like to present you with some definitions I had rounded up on the interwebitudes…and took the liberty of bolding/colour highlighting  some bits.

CENSOR:

The Free Online Dictionary:

cen·sor  (snsr)

n.

1. A person authorized to examine books, films, or other material and to remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable.
2. An official, as in the armed forces, who examines personal mail and official dispatches to remove information considered secret or a risk to security.
3. One that condemns or censures.
4. One of two officials in ancient Rome responsible for taking the public census and supervising public behavior and morals.
5. Psychology The agent in the unconscious that is responsible for censorship.
tr.v.cen·sored, cen·sor·ing, cen·sors

To examine and expurgate.

cen·sor

[sen-ser] Show IPA

noun

1.  an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
2.  any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
3.  an adverse critic; faultfinder.
4.  in the ancient Roman republic) either of two officials who kept the register or census of the citizens, awarded public contracts, and supervised manners and morals.
5.  (in early Freudian dream theory) the force that represses ideas, impulses, and feelings, and prevents them from entering consciousness in their original, undisguised forms.

CENSORSHIP:

Wikipedia:

Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals…

PBS:

Censorship: The use of the state and other legal or official means to restrict speech.

The File Room:  There is a collection of definitions here, with citations, including:

Censorship is a word of many meanings. In its broadest sense it refers to suppression of information, ideas, or artistic expression by anyone, whether government officials, church authorities, private pressure groups, or speakers, writers, and artists themselves. It may take place at any point in time, whether before an utterance occurs, prior to its widespread circulation, or by punishment of commincators after dissemination of their messages, so as to deter others from like expression.

Cultural Marxism:

Excerpt from a guest-post by CodeSlinger on my blog:

In the 1920’s, Antonio Gramsci and György Lukács adapted the methods of the Marxist dialectic and critical analysis to the cultural sphere and applied it to the task of undermining Western science, philosophy, religion, art, education, and so on. The result is called the quiet revolution, the revolution from within, the revolution that cannot be resisted by force. This is cultural Marxism.

Now, that was quite bad enough, but then along came a group of sociologists and psychologists — chief among whom being Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, and Jürgen Habermas — and they combined the Marxist dialectic with Freudian psychology to produce an exceptionally corrosive concoction called Critical Theory, which they use to deconstruct Western culture and values, and to rewrite history in terms of sexual and racial power struggles (and we can all see how that is turning out).

Collectively, these guys are called the Frankfurt School, because they originally got together under Horkheimer at the Institute for Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), which was domiciled in a little brick building belonging to the University of Frankfurt am Main in the early 1930’s. They all published their work in the Journal for Social Research (Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung), edited by none other than Horkheimer himself.

Then Hitler consolidated his control of Nazi Germany, so, seeing as they were all Jewish, they fled to the USA, more or less as a group, in 1934. In America, they affiliated themselves with Columbia and Princeton Universities. The Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung was renamed Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, and they really got down to business.

Not a perfect definition, but the great late Andrew Breitbart said a few colourful words about Cultural Marxism

OK, not an ‘official’ definition, but, it does give a flavour…

There is more that ought to be here:  if you have some definitions of these or other ‘terms of interest’, please, do leave them in the comments.

Note:  If you plan to troll, please, donate $100 towards the defense of Free Dominion per troll comment.  Thank you!

Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does – the Jury Trial (day 4)

Day 1′s events can be read here.

Day 2′s events can be read here.

Day 3’s events can be read here.

Today, Mr. Warman was being cross-examined by Ms. Kulaszka.

It seems that, over the years, Mr Warman had instigated or filed well over 70 lawsuits – and is very comfortable on the witness stand.

He continues to paint Ms. Kulaszka as a nazi-lawyer, sort of like a ‘mob lawyer’, and thus casts her clients as nazis and bad people in the eyes of the jury.

For all her great intelligence, Ms. Kulaszka is not a good orator.  Even the judge had difficulty following her questions at times and was asking for clarification.  After Mr. Warman would answer a question, she’d make minutes long pauses before acknowledging the answer…

Mr. Warman appeared to be trying to help her, and won much sympathy from the jury.

Half an hour into the afternoon session, I could not take it any more and I left.

EDIT:  during day 7 of the trial, the number of lawsuits initiated by Mr. Warman was said to be 69, which M. Katz side disputed by pointing out that some were multiple lawsuits against the same people but some were lawsuits with multiple defendants.

Also, I would like to clarify that the means through which Mr. Warman painted Ms. Kulaszka as a ‘nazi-lawyer’ was by name dropping and smearing, not through direct accussations.

Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does – the Jury Trial (day 3)

Day 1′s events can be read here.

Day 2’s events can be read here.

Today is day 3 of the trial and, I am sad to report, I was not there for most of it.

Before day 2 came to a close, the jury had been excused so that the judge and the lawyers (and Mr. Smith) could discuss some technical details.  Much of it was very technical legalese and I must admit, I had a difficult time following it.

What it did drive home for me was just how physically strenuous being a trial lawyer is!

The first day of the trial had been long and exhausting, but, before they left, the judge gave the lawyers homework:  they were to write a short 1-2 page summary not of the facts, but from what positions they would be arguing the case.

Now, at the close of the second day, the judge gave out more homework!

And this time, it was not just a short summary:  the judge wanted each of the sides to look up precedent law on the technical bit they had been discussing and present him with it before the trial resumed today!

That is a lot of work, paying close attention to all the details of the trial and then having to spend the evening doing more detailed research – as well as work what had gone on in the courtroom into the next-day’s plans…you would have to be not just intelligent, but also have a lot of physical stamina in order to withstand this kind of a highly stressful workload.

But, again, I digress…

So, this morning had been more discussions between the judge and the lawyers and no presentation of evidence to the jury.  And, again, my lack of legal training is a sharp limiting factor on my ability to have followed the crux of it, but…this is the best I could glean.

The jury will be asked to rule if specific – certain, very specific – posts on the Free Dominion discussion forum (they keep referring to it as a message board) – if these constitute libel against Mr. Warman.

The problem is that these specific comments are in different conversation threads in different bits of the site, there are cross-references and soon, the mesh becomes very difficult to navigate.  Time-lines complicate things even more…  Yet, for the jury to render their decisions, things have to be as easy to follow as possible.  So, to the best of my understanding, they were discussing how best to achieve this, how best to organize the material for presentation to the jury.

The court adjourned while the counsel counseled their respective clients on the suggested organizational methodologies.

After all this had been agreed to by all the parties – an amicable process, at least when one watched it from afar, the court re-convened.  And – the judge made an exciting announcement:  we had another question from the jury!

Once they begin deliberating, will they have access to their original binders, with their notes in it?

This warrants a little explanation.

The jurors are permitted to take notes during the testimony, but are not allowed to take them out of the courtroom, for security.  Many of them have, indeed, been taking notes – either on note-pads or right inside the evidence binders, as they were following the testimony regarding the various posts and how they affected Mr. Warman and his reputation.  To the best of my understanding, the jurors were asking if they would have access to these same binders – with their notes in them – while they deliberate, which will, of course, not be inside the courtroom.

Justice Smith smiled and said the answer was yes.  Then, he asked the counsel if they think it would OK for them (judge and lawyers and Mr. Smith) to call the jurors in, give them the answer, but then excuse them until 2pm so that they (the judge, the lawyers and Mr. Smith) could finish going over the details of what and how organized and labeled and highlighted the ‘posts in question’ will be presented to the jury.

All agreed, the jury came in, got their answer, was dismissed till 2 and left.

And, even though my own load in just observing the process is much lighter than that of any other person there, I must admit, I was exhausted.  I am not very healthy and not being able to lie down for this long at a stretch, several days in a row, had taken its toll on me…I was tired, so very, very tired…

Plus my pen ran out of ink…

My backup pen was in the second bag from yesterday, which I had left in the car…

My backup backup pen was in the backup notebook, which I just could not find…

so, ladies and gentlemen, I apologize but, I, too left…

I hope to gather information on what happened after 2 pm from any observers who might have been there, but, up till now, I have not received any.

What I did do, however, was to try to get a perspective on how Mr. Warman behaved on the stand from a non-Aspie observer.  I am, after all, rather blind to social cues and body language, so I know my perceptions of how Mr. Warman performed on the stand are necessarily poor.

What I heard did not warm my heart.

It seems that Mr. Warman’s positioning himself as a victim was skilfully executed and that casually slipping in the ‘damaging’ (to him) information into what he said likely went quite unnoticed by the jury.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

 

UPDATE:  (at 22:22)  I have found my backup notebook with my backup backup pen!

Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does – the Jury Trial (day 2)

Day 1’s events can be read here

If you want to skip through my rant, please, do scroll down to the un-indented section!

Before I get into today’s events, there are several things I’d like to get ‘out there’.

First and foremost, I am quite sad and a little upset that I appear to be the only person who is coming to watch the trial and is daily reporting on it.  After all, I am an Aspie and, as such, have a non-typical way of perceiving the world around me.

People with Aspergers have, according to the latest research I am aware of, many more undifferentiated cells in our amygdalas (when compared with the neurotypical majority).  As such, we tend to both perceive and process what goes on around us a little differently than most people do.  At least two standard deviations from the mean differently….for most diagnostic norms.

So, I am fully aware that my perceptions and my parsing of what is happening in the courtroom is not how most people are likely to see it.  And, without another report from a more neurotypical person to which I could link for ‘control’, I am afraid that, despite my best abilities, I may not be painting as accurate picture as I wish I could!

So, I beg you to to bear with me as I briefly describe my ‘Aspie lens’ so that you can strip it off my account!

Most of us Aspies are rather blind to appeals to our emotions rather than our rational thought.  To the contrary, what other people perceive as display of emotion, we perceive as attempts at manipulation and are rather repelled by them.  Also, we usually have a very rigid sense of ‘fair play’ and given the choice between ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘helping our friend’ – should those two be in conflict – we will pretty unanimously pick the ‘doing the right thing’.

Of course,  what we consider ‘doing the right thing’ to be depends much on our upbringing and life experience.

I, myself, an am immigrant to Canada.  I escaped from a totalitarian dictatorship, where I was the daughter of a known political dissident and, because of this, I had experienced some rather unpleasant things from early on in my childhood.

Having lived under an oppressive, totalitarian regime, I have become fully aware that ‘a state’ cannot just oppress because that is a political construct.  Rather, it is always the ‘agents of the state’ – flesh and blood people – who carry out the actions of oppression against their fellow citizens on behalf of the state by enforcing the very laws  which restrict human freedoms.  And, these ‘agents of the state’ – more often than not – consider themselves to be upstanding citizens who are protecting society by upholding the laws of the land.  But, I digress…

Thus, I am an anti-slavery fundamentalist and a free-speech absolutist.  Yes, I truly think that even yelling ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater ought to be permitted speech, because the damage done by people being afraid to call out when they see some smoke, which later turns out to be a fast-spreading-fire, is potentially much, much greater than if they spoke freely and warned their fellow citizens of a potential danger!!!

Also, English is neither my first, second or third language, so, at times, I may be quite deaf to some linguistic nuances.

These are my biases and limitations – I state them here clearly and honestly.  Please, when you read my report, keep them in mind and try to apply your own lens to neutralize them!!!

The next thing I’d like to raise is (sorry if I come across as whining – I don’t know how to state this without sounding so wussy) the state of my health.

I am not exactly well.  At this point, I have outlived the MD’s ‘best predictions’ by several years already, so I count myself incredibly lucky for every day I am still here.  But, I do have physical problems…and, being out of bed for this many hours, two days in a row, is a very, very serious strain on me.

As such, I have had to take my maximum prescribed pain meds.  There is a saying ‘out there’ – thou shall not drink and blog!  Well, I may not be ‘drinking’ my meds, but that is a bit of a technicality…

Yet, I do know that there are many of you who are eager to read what had gone on in the trial today!!!

And, regrettably, I am the only one who seems to be reporting on this…and thus I do feel a sense of obligation to report what I had observed in the trial…

Unfortunately, I was a little late in arriving at the court-house today:  the jury trial had already been underway for a little over half an hour .  Yet, from what I have understood later, from the comments of others, the very first thing the brilliant Mr. Katz did was to have Mr. Warman clarify the ‘potential misunderstanding’ that Mr. Warman’s testimony of the previous day may have created.

Good!

The jury ought to form their opinion on true facts, not accidental mistakes.

The whole day’s testimony before the jury was taken up by Mr. Warman being up on the stand.  I have to say, that would be a physically stressful day!  Yet, he bore it well and the only signs of fatigue I noticed was that, while he had been speaking so fast on day one that one of the jurors had to ask him so slow down, by the end of the day today, he spoke much slower than in the morning.

And, towards the day, as he spoke, he was making more grammatical errors in his sentences.  Minor ones, like who/whom, and so on, but I am a bit of a grammar-nazi (I plead Aspie!), so each one struck me.

Otherwise, he appeared as fresh at 4 o’clock as he had when I walked into the room.

Again, just like yesterday, Mr. Katz talked Mr. Warman through the various threads on the Free Dominion website where Mr Warman explained the context, timing – in relation with communicating with the defendants, too – what he found defamatory and why.  This had the jury flipping from tab to tab in these huge, thicks binders of evidence.

Alas, without one, I could not follow it as closely as the jury, so I’ll not even attempt to go into the details.  Instead, I’ll report on the few instances where this ‘normal’ state of things was interrupted.

For example, when the court convened after lunch, before the jury had been brought in, with an indulgent smile on his face, Justice Robert Smith announced that he had a question from the jury!

He tore open the brown envelope in which it had been delivered and read it out.   At the beginning of the trial, the jury had been instructed not to do independent research on any of the subjects of this trial because it must be judged on what is presented in the courtroom and not elsewhere.  But, this question was not about Mr. Warman or Free Dominion or any of the John Does themselves…

Rather, the juror wanted to know if they could do independent research to learn what the libel laws in Canada actually are.

The judge said it seems like the jurors might seek to know the law in order to have context for the testimony before them. But, it would be difficult to do quickly – the full instruction to the jury is usually at the conclusion of the testimony and is long and complex, and could not really be done at this point.  Perhaps he could give a general idea…

Barbara Kulaszka, the counsel for some of the defendants, thought it would be better for the jurors to listen to all the evidence without this framework, so they don’t accidentally shut information they mistakenly thought was irrelevant.

There was some back and forth between the Judge and the lawyers on this.  Justice Smith ensured that he also asked Mr. Smith’s opinion (as Mr. Smith is representing himself), but Mr. Smith deferred to the judge’s opinion.

In the end, the judge did indeed give the jury a very general framework for what these laws are, but he was cautious to point out that, like in every profession, these terms are all technical terms that have very specific meanings in the legal context, meanings which may differ from the general usage of those terms.

So, he briefly outlined the law and the defenses, but told the jurors that he will not only explain it better later, he’ll give them all the definitions in writing so they will be able to refer to them in their deliberating.

But, I am out of temporal sequence here…

First the question came, the judge and counsel discussed it, and the jury was sent for.  But, instead of the jury, another question came:  now, one (or, perhaps more) juror wanted to know if they may visit the Free Dominion site itself.  This, of course, was a simple ‘no’.

Thus, when the jury did come in and the judge was giving them answers, he answered question 2 first, then the more complex question 1.

One thing that struck me about Mr. Warman’s testimony was that, over and over, he insisted that any claims that he was damaging people’s lives with his actions, were false.  To him (or, so I perceived), this was about personal accountability:  these people were saying things that it was illegal to say and he was a fine and upstanding citizen who simply made sure the laws of the land were applied to them.  It was the duty of righteous citizens, like himself, to protect the society at large from those citizens who speak things that are illegal to say.

I am, of course, describing here how I perceived Mr. Warman’s testimony – these are not his direct words, just my understanding of them.

Yet, this was a recurring reference that he kept making – he was just enforcing the laws!

Therefore, any reference associating him with an agent of a totalitarian state enforcing unjust laws on the citizens, like the Stasi, SS or Stalin’s goons, is completely unfounded.

At one point, he did mention that Section 13 (often referred to in the media as ‘the censorship provision’) of the Human Rights code may have been ‘gotten rid of’ (here, I did not perfectly follow the details, just the bigger meaning, but I think it was gotten rid of because so many people thought it to be unconstitutional), that it is still the law of our land until next summer.  So, it was perfectly proper for him to lay ‘Section 13’ complaints against people who said illegal things and it is not he, but the people who said the illegal things that is the cause of their suffering.

There was one point in particular that stands out in my mind.

He was speaking about some woman (I did not catch the name – my apologies) who said illegal things and whom he had brought a ‘Section 13’ complaint against, but who later claimed that Mr. Warman had ruined her life.  I don’t even know whom he had been referring to, much less what it was she had said that brought this upon her, but it was clearly illegal and Mr. Warman testified that she was no misguided young girl but a full-out baddie who claimed that these illegal-to-say things (I don’t want to repeat the things and accidentally re-publish them, because, from what was said in the trial, this, too, might land me in trouble…thus the self-censorship)….lost my thread, sorry.

So, Mr. Warman testified that this woman said these ‘illegal-to-say-things’ were her deeply held beliefs and formed the core of her self-identity.  So, the Tribunal did what it always does (I do believe the term ‘boilerplate’ was used) and issued a ‘cease and desist’ against her (sorry, lack of legal term understanding here, but I understand it to mean a lifetime gag order).  So, if in the future, this bad woman were ever to say aloud or write the things she believes and which form the core of her identity, she would indeed be jailed.

What struck me was how cold and clinical he was as he said this, as if he did not realize the implications of what he was saying.  He made it seem ‘matter-of-fact’ and ‘normal’.

At this point, my stomach clenched, my head began to spin…

There is more, but I am too upset to type now….perhaps I’ll update more when my hands stop shaking…

Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does – the Jury Trial (day 1)

Yet another installment in the Warman vs Free Dominion saga began today (9th of September, 2013) – and I was lucky to be there to witness it.  While I am no legal expert so I could only follow what was happening through my layman’s eyes, I am happy to share my personal observations with you.

As this was a jury trial, the first thing that had to be done was the selection of the jury.  One thing I learned was that while there are 12 jurors in a criminal case, there are only 6 in a civil case.  The process itself is interesting, if lengthy and, for the prospective jurors, I imagine it would be quite tedious and more than a little stressful.

The jury selection room at the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa, where this trial is taking place, is located on the 3rd floor.  As soon as I came off the elevator, I spotted Connie Fournier from Free Dominion  with her lawyer, Barbara Kulaszka and a group of supporters standing in front of Courtroom #37.  Roger Smith, one of the John Does (who is representing himself) was seated nearby, and the highly charismatic Mark Fournier soon also joined the group.  All were either smiling hopefully or looking thoughtful.

Connie Fournier looked elegant in a pretty brown blouse with a simple silver necklace, charcoal slacks and black cardigan and understated black shoes.  Mark wore a simple dark green shirt, sporty black pants and his usual aura of immense energy, coiled  just beneath the surface!  The distinguished-looking Roger Smith wore a tan shirt, darker tan pants (brown shoes, of course),  blue blazer with a blue tie with a subtle tan stripe.  Barbara Kulaszka wore her lawyer’s robes, which drape pleasingly about her slender frame, flattering her tall figure.

Richard Warman breezed in just at the time appointed for the action to start, in his regulation crisp, flawless business suit (dark) with a light shirt and a tan-ish patterned tie.  He was accompanied by his handsome and extremely capable lawyer, James Katz (who appears to have moved from Brazeau Seller LLP to Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP) and his assistant (grey suit) whom Mr. Katz later identified as a law student.

In the meantime, all the prospective jurors (there were to be several juries, for both criminal and civil suits, to be selected today) had gathered in a crowded room just off the Court Room #37.  When the first judge (not for our case) was ready to start selecting the jury for the criminal case he was to preside over, they (the prospective jurors) were all led in (by the bailiff) and seated in the large and comparatively plush courtroom – however, as this did not concern us and the room was quite full, we left.

We moved to Court Room #35, a much smaller one, where the presiding justice, Judge Robert Smith, wanted to go over some points of procedure with the lawyers and Mr. Smith prior to selecting the jury.

Justice Robert Smith seems very kind and good natured, explaining to the self-represented Mr. Smith that, as he (Mr. Smith) is not a lawyer himself, he (Justice Smith) will explain all the procedures to him and his rights in how to represent himself and he (Justice Smith) urged him (Mr Smith) to ask questions if he has any and he (Justice Smith) will be happy to answer them.

Then there was some amicable procedural back and forth between the judge and the two lawyers and things seemed to be going quite well.  For example, Mr. Katz explained that the 10 days set aside for the trial was spread over 3, rather than 2, weeks due to his obligation to observe some religious holidays, and so on.

Procedural stuff!

The judge asked the counsel to prepare a brief 1 to max 2 page summary not of the facts of the case, but of the positions they’ll be arguing them from, for tomorrow morning.

In addition to the Fourniers, Barbara Kulaszka is also representing one of the John Does, (Jason Bertucci, from BC, aka ‘Faramir’ – who will attend the trial next week).  Several of the John Does Mr. Warman was suing had settled out of court and he had not discovered the identity of a few more, so, as per an earlier court order, the proceedings against the  unidentified John Does was vacated.  In case Mr. Warman was to win and damages were to be awarded to him, the terms of the settlements with the John Does would be revealed so as to prevent ‘double dipping’ (my term, not the legal one) of having overlapping (again, my imperfect understanding, not the legal words) damages awarded in both the settlement and the court case.

…haggling over some late-submitted evidence, the essence of which was quite lost on me…relevance – rulings, binding so stuff can be removed from evidence books if deemed irrelevant….procedural stuff!

Once Justice Robert Smith was happy, we went back to Court Room #37 where the criminal case jury selection was just finishing up (under the watchful eye of Justice Patrick Smith).  (It seemed like metal-workers were everywhere today!!!)

As it concluded, we were told that there was to be a brief break – and all the prospective jurors had to file out of the room, back into the cramped holding room off Court Room #37.

Ten or so minutes later, we went back in to do our jury selection – and all the prospective jurors had to file back in.  It was at this time that I observed something peculiar, but very, very human!

Being in a stressful situation, as being in a jury pool, with its inherent loss of control over one’s ‘destiny’ – at least, circumstances in the short term – is much more stressful that one might imagine and which was accentuated by all this ‘group herding’ from one room to the other over and over… but this bonds people together!

And, as the prospective jurors filed in this time around, from the guy carrying his bicycle helmet to the young woman in those ridiculously high heels, these people began to form ‘familiar stranger’ social bonds.  Some sought to sit near the same people as earlier.  Others exchanged smiles and acknowledging nods.  Many began to engage in ‘familiar stranger’ social chatter…

It is exactly this ability of humans to bond under stressful situations, regardless of race or creed, that makes humanity so awesome!

But, I am rambling.  My apologies – I’ll re-focus.

Justice Robert Smith spoke of the supreme importance of jury duty to our system of governance  and I fully approved of all the wonderful, important things he said.

So, the process of jury selection, patiently explained by Justice Robert Smith, was to select 20 potential jurors by drawing their pre-assigned number from a box, which looked a lot like a Bingo drum.  They will come up if their number is called. Then, if any of them had undue hardships, they could tell the judge and he’d excuse them from jury duty.  A gray-haired woman came forward and explained her English was not good enough for her to follow the testimony properly, a young man had been booked to travel on business during trial dates, and so on.  The judge excused them, if their ‘hardship’ were genuine.

The rest of the 20 who were up then stood facing the lawyers  and the self-representing Mr. Smith, one by one, and they (the lawyers and Mr. smith) could either accept them as jury members or reject them.  Each side could reject up to 4 potential jurors, this number being split equally between Ms. Kulaszka and Mr. Smith on the defense side, giving each of them 2 rejections.  Mr. Katz rejected a computer-savvy looking man.  Ms. Kulaszka rejected a nuveau-hippie looking young woman.  That was it.  The next 6 people were sworn (on either the Bible or the Koran) or affirmed in as jurors, the next two as alternates (these were dismissed at the beginning of the trial, when it was apparent that the 6 jurors would indeed be able to serve).

Thus, the jury of 4 men and 2 women was selected!

It was not even noon, and we were free till the body of the trial would start at 2 pm, in Court Room #35.

Perhaps not as exciting a process as the trial itself, but, as I had never seen anything like jury selection before, I found it fascinating.  Hence the recounting thereof…

Promptly, at 2 pm, the Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does jury trial began.

Once the jury was brought in, Justice Smith again spoke to the importance of their role to our society and went on to explain their prospective roles:  his job was to instruct them on what the law is and their job was to listen to the evidence, all of the presented evidence (and no more or less), for themselves, and then draw conclusion on what the facts were and apply the laws, as they are and not necessarily as they think they should be, to these facts and render a decision.  They could take notes, but not take them away with them – and taking notes should not interfere with their paying attention to the testimony.

Justice Smith further instructed the jury as to how things will proceed, how the testimony and cross examination will work, and all that procedural sort of stuff.  He was very good at covering the important points and, if the jurors looked puzzled, he explained closer. Very well done.

Aside:  at some point in the proceedings, the exact moment of which I cannot right now find in my horribly scrawled notes (as I am hurrying to write this all up), Justice Smith announced that any witnesses who are to testify in the case (none for Mr. Warman, though he himself would testify, but as a plaintiff and not a witness and for the Fourniers [who would each also testify, as defendants – not witnesses], there will be four witnesses called:  Tom Kennedy, Paul Fromm, Jerry Neumann and David Icke) are to leave the courtroom and isolate themselves from any testimony before they themselves are called.  (Sorry for the convoluted sentence – it’s a lot of information condensed together, but it is important ‘stuff’.)

All right – if I go into all the details, I will not get this typed up before having to head in again tomorrow morning (I am a slow thinker and an even slower writer).  So, I’ll simply hit the headlines and explain my perceptions of what took place.

Mr. Katz, a most competent lawyer (without whose brilliant work I suspect Mr. Warman’s lawsuit record would be quite dismal – and who is, unfortunately, not sporting that sexy beard of his right now) made his rather brief opening statement.  Quite well, but not as well as I would have expected from his past performances.  (Sad … I love to see a brilliant mind at his best!)

Then, he called Mr. Warman to the stand.

Exciting!!!

But again, the testimony itself was so much lower quality than what I had expected to see that it left me faintly sad…

Mr. Warman, aided adroitly by Mr. Katz, attempted to paint himself as ‘the victim’.  The courageous human rights activist who saw wrongs being done and took up the challenge to try to make the world a better place…and got nothing but grief and abuse as a reward!

At least, that is what, to my eye and ear, he attempted to sound like.  Just a little too hard…

I don’t know if the jury bought it, but, it did not ring true to my proverbial ear.

Why?

Because even when he attempted to cloak it is ‘oh, poor me, I’m doing good and the world is picking on me’ whines, he did make some rather stark factual admissions.

For example, Mr. Warman testified that there was a detestable man in the United States of America by the name of Bill White (if I am not mistaken) who got charged by the FBI for uttering death threats against a whole slew of people – and Richard Warman got himself added to that list, somehow.  It went to trial and, that detestable, horrible person was indeed found guilty of uttering death threats against every single person on that list – EXCEPT against Mr. Warman…

Aside:  if I am not mistaken (and I might be), Mr. Warman appealed this and lost – so not one, but at least two courts found his allegations of ‘death threats’ to be less than ‘provable’.  If any of my readers have more info on this, I would appreciate your ‘hard evidence’ because I am very sketchy on this and would like the legal record to be as correct as possible!  The corollary is: this is my highly imperfect understanding of the testimony Mr. Warman gave, not a statement of fact, and it should not ever be mistaken for one!

This bit is important because one of the defamatory comments Mr. Warman is suing about, from what I understand, is that someone claimed that he (Mr, Warman) had, in the past, made false claims that he got death threats…though, the bulk of his (Mr. Warman’s) testimony today was about ‘all the death threats’ from evil and detestable ‘neo-nazis’ (not even remotely connected to any of the people he is suing here – so I can only guess he’s laying groundwork against the claim of ‘his false claim of death-threats’) that he had, over the years, received…

Ah, what a web we weave…

Another ‘fact’ that Mr. Warman had testified to today was that, while employed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, he was also a complainant who brought cases before the Canadian Human Rights Commission…

Actually, to my untrained mind, Mr. Warman had made himself sound much worse than I suspect the facts of the matter are.  From previous information (which, I suspect, is not available to the jurors), I don’t think there is any evidence that Mr. Warman had himself investigated ‘Section 13’ (the ‘hate-speech’ section) of the Human Rights Code complaints.  Yet, the way he had phrased it on the stand, it would be easy for the jurors to misunderstand his statement to imply that he both brought the complaint to the Human Rights Commission and then investigated it himself….a clear conflict of interest, in my eyes.  A conflict of interest I do not think he is guilty of, but which the jury might misunderstand his words to suggest…

Don’t get me wrong – I am no fan of the past totalitarian actions of Mr. Warman.  But, being an Aspie, I cannot stand it if ‘the rules’ are broken and if ‘the truth’ is not clearly visible – whether that ‘advantage’ is in favour of the team I am ‘cheering for’, or against!!!  Which is why this bothers me so…

I want freedom of speech and freedom of the internet to win – but on the true facts and their merits, not on poorly given testimony which is then misunderstood!!!  That would be a hollow victory!

OK, that is my OCD speaking… sorry, I’ll move on…

Another fact Mr. Warman had testified to was that, while an employee of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, he had brought complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission which were investigated by it,then referred to its ‘Tribunall’  – which then awarded him tens of thousands of dollars in ‘damages’…while he was also drawing a salary from the CHRC.  Again, I can not read the minds of the inscrutable jury, but, my to mind (rightly or wrongly) this screamed ‘double dipping’ and ‘corruption’!  Yet, when Mr. Warman testified to it, he tried to make it seem like a good thing.  And, again, I cannot but suspect the appearance Mr. Warman’s testimony created was much worse than the truth of the matter…

Indeed – everything Mr. Warman testified to was couched in the ‘I am a victim – neo-Nazi’s are trying to kill me’ language.  But, the facts he himself put into evidence…to my layman’s mind, they were seriously damaging to his cause, his credibility – and in my highly imperfect comprehension, the way he had painted himself – his very own words on the stand today – were way more damaging to his reputation that anything I have, over the years, read on the internet.  Much worse than what I suspect is the actual truth of the things he had so clumsily testified to today…

It remains to be seen if the jury parsed his testimony the same way I did – most unlikely, as I am much more familiar with the background material so some things that were casually ‘slipped in’ practically ‘screamed’ at me…plus I have a very Aspie mind, and thus are much more sensitive to perceiving even camouflaged injustices/misrepresentations than the average person might be.

One final point:  during some bit where Mr. Warman was explaining just how damaging to his reputation, both as a lawyer and as a person, the posts at Free Dominion were, he flatly said (and I may be paraphrasing slightly, as I am working from notes, but not in the substance of the statement):  they might as well have said I cut heads off of babies!!!

Several jury members visibly cringed at this simile.

I have no idea if this means they had empathy with him for such damaging statements on ‘that accursed website’ or if they thought he was over-exaggerating and thus losing credibility with them…

Only time will tell!

Free Dominion goes to court Monday, September 9th, 2013

From Connie Fournier:

Richard Warman vs Free Dominion starts MONDAY!
Hi, FD Friends!

Once again I’m emailing you with a Free Dominion legal update because you have helped us in the past, and/or you are on our list of friends who are interested in keeping up with our cases. (Please let me know if you no longer want to get these status reports.)
Starting Monday September 9th – Fourniers and Warman meet in court!

 

Lately we’ve been buried in mounds of paperwork!  But, it has all been worthwhile because the Warman vs FD hearing starts on Monday and we are READY!! 

We have four volumes of evidence, four witnesses, and a jury will be sitting there waiting to hear it all!  Never before has Richard Warman had to seriously address every aspect of his own record for a court.  But, he will this time!

We are going to start a thread on Free Dominion on the weekend that will be dedicated to what is happening in court.  We hope to be able to post and tweet as the trial is on, but, at worst, we will make sure that you are updated a few times a day.  We may also send another email like this if there is something significant to tell you.

This has cost us thousands of dollars for printing, flights, accomodations for witnesses and John Does, and other expenses, but we still have our heads above the water!  That is thanks to friends like you!

However, since we will have expenses during the hearing and all of us have had to take time off work, too, we would really appreciate it if anyone feels inclined to send a last-minute donation to help defray our immediate travel expenses and to keep food and coffee in the FD kitchen for the Does and our witnesses!  (We also appreciate prayers and good wishes from those of you who have already donated, or who would simply prefer to support us in that way instead!)

We think we need about another $1500 to do this comfortably.  If you feel so inclined, the fastest and cheapest way to help out would be with an Interac Email Money Transfer to connie@freedominion.ca.

We also have PayPal if you prefer.

And our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

Since we will be out of town, it would be most convenient if cheques were made out to Connie Fournier so we can have someone at home drop them in the bank.

We are SO grateful to our many friends who have helped us get this far.  Now, finally, after six long years, the finish line is in sight!

We promise to go in there and put up a fight that is worthy of the faith you have shown in us!  Stay tuned!

PS If you can make it to the court to see any of the hearing, we’d love to see you!  We even have some extra Warman vs John Doe t-shirts if you ask us for one!   🙂

Hearing days are September 9-13th, September 16-18th, and September 23-25th at the Elgin St. Court in Ottawa!

Fondest Regards,
Connie Fournier
Free Dominion

Connie Fournier on the fall of ‘Section 13’

Connie and Mark Fournier are the founders and operators of Free Dominion, Canada’s first and best known ‘little c’ conservative discussion forum.  As such, they have been in the forefront of the battles for freedom of speech and against ‘Section 13’ of the Human Rights Code, which criminilizes any speech which might, potentially, hurt someone’s feelings.

Of course, as per ‘Xanthippa’s first law of human dynamics’ (any rule and/or law will, eventually, be pushed to its extreme and abused/applied in ways the drafters never imagined), ‘Section 13’ became abused, had 100% conviction rate, and ‘truth’ was no defense….

Alas, passing laws is much easier than repealing them, which is why it took so long, and was such a difficult battle.

And the Fourniers were in the thick of it:  Dr. Michael Geist, in his ‘Milestones in 2012 from A to Z, even named ‘F’ is for ‘Free Dominion’!

It is natural, therefore, that I sought an interview with Connie Fournier on the occasion of the fall of ‘Section 13’.  Connie graciously agreed.  Here is the interview:

Q: How did you feel when you heard that Bill C-304, which strikes down the infamous ‘Section 13’, had passed the final reading in the Senate and received Royal Assent, making it a law?
A:  We are just talking about how both of us are having a hard time believing it is real.  We have fought against Section 13 so hard for so long that it is hard to believe that we actually won!  Obviously, though, we are ecstatic.

Q: What impact do you think this will make on the political discussion in Canada?
A:  We are hoping that it will make people less afraid to discuss controversial issues.  We have always believed that the best way for Canadians to deal with their differences is for them to be able to discuss them openly.  When you have a potential legal threat hanging over your head if someone decides your words are capable of making someone uncomfortable, it has a major chilling effect on discussion…especially political discussion, which is heated at the best of times.  When you add to that the effect of having a third party starting these actions as his own personal crusade, you have real problems.
Q: Do you think that your legal situation will be impacted by this and if so, how?
A:  When it comes to the defamation suits that Richard Warman has filed against us, this is very important.  When someone claims damages for defamation, they have to demonstrate that they had a good reputation that was unfairly damaged as a result of the words of the defendents.  In this case, the plaintiff’s actions have now directly resulted in two governments (the Federal government and the BC government) having to enact legislation to protect the public from him. (BC Libraries and Bill C-304…I can provide more info if you need it)  This is a direct reflection on his reputation.

Q: Do you think this will lead to eventual de-funding and/or dismantling of the quasi-judicial Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals in favour of trials in real courts with proper legal procedures?
A:  I wouldn’t be surprised if this resulted in such a move.  Hopefully the first thing that will happen, though, is for provincial HRCs to follow suit and repeal their own versions of Section 13.

Q: Anything else you’d like to say on the topic?
A:  The defenders of censorship are wailing that the repeal of Section 13 will result in an explosion of hatred around the country.  I think it is good to note that Section 13 cases have been stayed since the Hadjis decision, and this threat has not materialized.  Canadians are polite and decent people and we are quite capable of dealing with the handful of internet racists among us by out-arguing them.  We do not need CHRC employees to snoop around our sites or, worse, post hateful messages as “bait”.  We are very thankful to Brian Storseth for putting forward a private member’s bill that acknowledges that Canadians are reasonable and intelligent adults.
Thanks to Connie for her words and just a reminder that this battle that Mark and Connie Fournier are fighting is on the behalf of all of us – and that legal fees are costly.  There will be a fund-raising BBQ for the Fournier’s legal expenses on July 21st, 2013.  Come out and show your support for freedom of speech!

 

So, how about a thought for Mrs. Warman?!?!?

Jay Currie raises some very important questions – ones everyone ought to demand answers to:

… In other words, the nature of her job meant that she did very much the same sort of thing as her husband except, of course, she was prosecuting actual internet criminals under the Criminal Code. (And good for her say I.)

However, it does raise some interesting and, I suspect, important questions. First, did Mrs. W. have a computer at home for work or simply because she was a wired up kinda gal? Second, did the Warmans trade tips on how best to engage their respective prey? Third, why have none of the defendants in the assorted Cools related defamation cases sought to examine Mrs. W’s computer (assuming, rather plausibly, she had one) to determine if hubby might have been using it as a back up/cut out machine? …

I’m afraid I am nowhere as nice and generous as Jay Currie….

The questions that get raised in MY mind are much more sinister:  did Richard Warman subvert his wife’s integrity by his ideas and methods?

After all, he is on record as saying that people who are actively evil, people who commit crimes and are hateful, ought to be treated the same way as his political rivals and/or people whom he simply finds ‘annoying’ – like Connie and Mark Fournier of Free Dominion – and that ‘maximum disruption’ methods ought to be used to make their life a living hell!

Now, this is all bad and tragic when it occurs in the civil courts sphere and downright despicable when it occurs in the ‘Human Rights Commission/Tribunals’ sphere…but people know that these are the ‘softer’ courts.

But – what if Warman has convinced his wife to apply his tactics against people in the criminal courts?

After all, if she loves him, shares a child with him and continues to be married to him, she must – on some level – respect him as a person, with all that he does.

And if she respects him as a person, she must not think his professional conduct is in any way ‘wrong’/’immoral’/’unethical’…

Richard Warman believes it is justifiable to use any methods to persecute and discredit his political opponents, in what he terms ‘maximum disruption’ doctrine.

Mrs. Warman prosecutes pedophiles.

Any accusation of pedophilia, even without a conviction, is enough to ruin peoples’ lives and careers in so many intangible, non-provable and thus non-prosecutable ways…

How can we possibly be sure that his wife is not just another tool in Richard Warman’s arsenal to discredit his political opponents?!?!?

Please, do think about it…