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Tuesday, January 13, 2009 

'Defamation of Character' Lawsuit Against Warren Kinsella Opens

A lawsuit against Liberal strategist, Warren Kinsella opened yesterday. There are a number of interesting elements to the story, not the least of which is the time that has elapsed since the incident in question occurred.

In a democracy, where 'freedom of speech' is a right, it must be also be remembered that 'responsibility of speech' is a reality ensured by laws that protect an individual from abusive or inflammatory allegations or comment. In other words, you can say what you want .... but you may have to pay a high financial cost, (not the least of which is expensive legal defense costs), to say it. Sometimes 'free speech' is not free.

Ottawa Citizen

It was vaguely interesting until I read the name of Mr. MacDonald's counsel, Doug Christie.

Doug Christie seems to have switched roles this time, from 'defender' to 'plaintiff'.

I did this post to add my thoughts on the whole 'freedom of speech' debate that is raging on rightwing blogs lately. The element that they always seem to ignore is the one I raised, 'responsibility of speech'.

This case is also interesting because the alleged defamation happened over a decade ago.

LD:

You raise an interesting issue when you mention the delay in bringing this case to Court. A defamation suit is aimed at compensating the Plaintiff for the dimisnishment of their reputation caused by the alleged untrue comments of the Defendant. If I were acting for Kinsella I would want to know why, if he was so concerned about his reputation, MacDonald took so long to challenge the impugned statements and bring his claim forward. It would seem to me that the longer the words remain out there and unchallenged the more damaging they would be to his reputation.

Agreed. There are a number of issues here. That one certainly caught my eye.

It sounds like a limitations issue. Sue now or be forever statute barred. Most Canadian jurisdictions have a 10-year cut off for most tort claims.

I was wrong. It seems that most jurisdictions have a 2-year limitation on defamation cases. There must have been some renewal of the defamation to get around this.

Without some "fresh" publication to hang this on, Kinsella's lawyers would have had the claim tossed long before it ever went to trial.

If Doug Christie is his lawyer, then he is a right-wing whacko and possible neo-Nazi. they are the only client Christie takes.

So by showing up in court with Christie, he pretty much admitted his guilt...

funny, that.

That is a pretty good observation.

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