Rob Ford libel action: reporters are citizens too

Paul Wells on why Daniel Dale is within his rights to sue

by Paul Wells

Chris Young/CP

In 2008 Stephen Harper served Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, Ralph Goodale and the Liberal Party with a notice of libel over claims they had made in the Cadman affair. In 2009 Harper dropped the suit, saying that since Dion was no longer the Liberal leader, the suit was no longer needed. This is probably disingenuous: if you sue Ignatieff and others, and then drop the suit because Ignatieff has become Liberal leader, I get to laugh at you. In the meantime the suit had gone poorly for the Prime Minister. Sweated on the witness stand, he corroborated much (but not all) of the story the Liberals had been peddling. His lawyer quit.

But the merits of Harper’s case aside, there was also some tut-tutting to the effect that a prime minister must not sue an opposition politician, because, well, just because. Much of this huffing came from eminent legal scholars on Dion’s behalf, although if I recall correctly Dion managed to resist joining in the chorus, and it’s a good thing too, because less than two years earlier Dion had sued Gilles Duceppe

I think Harper had as much right to try his luck in court as anyone. And as much obligation to suck it up when it ended badly. In a career that is starting to have lasted a while, I have never sued anyone for anything, nor been sued. I try not to make it my style to give offence easily, and I also try (this is the bigger challenge, on most days) not to take offence. But libel law exists for a reason, and I think our society is healthier to the extent the law applies as evenly as possible, regardless of one’s station. So I’ve always understood the people I write about might sue me. We’ve sent the odd column, and two books, off to lawyers to stay on the safe side. And while I never contemplated a lawsuit against the people I cover, if one of them said something awful about me I would sue, and I would not let my job title slow me down.

The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale is suing Rob Ford, Toronto’s mayor, for libel. The details are a matter of public record and will need a court to sort them out. I don’t believe Dale’s case is open and shut, even though I do believe Ford intended his remarks as Dale heard them. But Dale will have much in his favour if this suit gets to court: the TV station on which Ford made the accusations aired them a second time, after it was already clear the mayor had caused an outrage. Given a chance to recant, Ford said he stood by “every word.” He apparently repeated the substance of his claim this morning on a radio broadcast.

Some of the early commentary around this story has suggested Dale is doing something wrong by suing. There seems to be some notion that reporters have special powers — they work for companies that buy ink by the barrel — so they must show particular restraint in defending their rights. Screw that noise. Dale has as much recourse to the courts as Ford ever did, which is as much as this guy suing Naheed Nenshi has, or as much as you would have if your neighbour spray-painted something on the front of your house that you took to be defamatory. Ford announced plans to sue his former employees four weeks ago; he’d have been within his rights, although I do not believe he has followed through.

I reject the notion that a job at a news organization makes somebody fair game for vile slander. I claim for myself the same rights I have always assumed in the people I write about. A judge will decide the merits of Dale’s case, but each of us has a right to his own opinion, and from what I know of the case at hand, I’m glad he’s suing.




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Rob Ford libel action: reporters are citizens too

  1. Dale can sue if he wants.

    The Star allowing him to remain on the city beat and cover the mayor while he is in the middle of suing him? Would be curious to hear your take on that Paul.

    • I’d have pulled him off the beat, but that’s a judgment call. Readers who don’t like The Star’s judgment can decide whether it’s worth withdrawing their business as readers or advertisers.

      • http://www.thestar.com/opinion/public_editor/2011/12/07/toronto_star_newsroom_policy_and_journalistic_standards_guide.html

        CONFLICT OF INTEREST

        OVERVIEW OF PRINCIPLES

        “It is not proper for journalists to be both actors and critics. It is a
        journalistic obligation to ensure that our reputations as fair-minded
        fact-finders are not compromised by any open display of political or
        partisan views on public issues nor tainted by personal involvement or
        personal axe-grinding on issues the Star covers.”

        Not much of a judgement call there. They are willfully violating their own code of conduct.

        Yeah, I made that decision a long time ago.

        • and so your point now is for others, like Paul said, is to make their own decision…thanks capt obv.

        • it’s reasonable to make an exception when the conflict arises directly out of your own reporting. Otherwise anybody could get an intrepid reporter of their back by involving the courts.

          • With all respect, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Getting rid of a reporter you don’t like by goingmout of your way to invite lawsuits against yourself?

            It’s not like the reporter can’t pass any files he/she is working on over to a colleague.

          • With respect, I don’t think that makes much sense. You’re going to get rid of a reporter you don’t like by going out of your way to invite lawsuits against yourself? Seems like cutting off your own nose to spite your face. That reporter would merely pass his/her files on to a colleague.

          • There will be legal proceedings between the two parties (the crux of the conflict of interest) no matter who sues whom. Furthermore it’s unfair to a reporter following up a big lead who, if slandered, would have to choose between following a huge story and getting his due for defamation, when he should be entitled to both. A subject aware of this would be able to say whatever he wanted about the reporter knowing if he wanted to advance his career he would not have the recourse a normal citizen would have.

          • If there’s a prize for most naive comment on this thread, I think you can safely claim it. This is Ford after all. Can anyone predict what this guy won’t do?

          • What did the fox say?

          • But Ford Haters don’t make sense, so….

        • Under normal circumstances you’d have a good point[ although I doubt this reporter will get to keep covering Ford] but honestly, can you really say who has the better bully pulpit here?

          • They’ve already said that Dale will remain on the city beat.

        • Right on John g – I wager if you asked any fair-minded citizen today if many journalists are trying to be both actors and Critics as well as compromising themselves by open displays of political or paritsan views they would answer yet. That’s why only 24% of citizens polled think they have ethics or are honest.
          Thus the scramble for scandal and gotcha! journalism as ratings and revenues drop like a stone on all platforms and outlets.
          No wonder folks trust the bloggers more.

          • Some evidence of this trend toward becoming both actor and critic might be nice. Just because the public like to hop aboard an easy, intellectually lazy populist bandwagon doesn’t make it so.

          • I learned much much more from the blogs about global warming than from the media. The media just seem to repeat talking points. The blogs have space and time for detailed analysis

          • And how exactly do you determine the quality of this detailed analysis? How do you know the blogger has some credentials, and isn’t just some guy typing in his mom’s basement, wearing a tin foil hat?

          • Actually the authors of the blogs that i read have published in peer reviewed journals. What I have found is that it is the media that has bought into a talking points view of the global warming issue. They portray it as an adversarial situation between noble disinterested scientists and evil deniers. What I find disturbing about this is that the potentially catastrophic issue of global warming is being dealt with with second-rate shoddy science.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • I have no idea who this Dale guy is. However, I want to ask the question…is there any substance behind Ford’s allegation or is everybody dismissing it because it is Rob Ford. Just asking. Surely Ford did not just pick this allegation out of the air when there are so many other accusations that can be levelled at the Star and presumably this reporter. However, given his recent antics who knows.

          • From the libel notice, reproduced in the Globe:

            “A police investigation found no evidence that Mr. Dale went onto the Mayor’s property or peered over his fence, nor did he take any steps to do so.”

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/full-text-daniel-dales-libel-notice-against-toronto-mayor-rob-ford/article15940631/

            From the Post:

            “The Fords also said they had video of the incident, which was forwarded to police, who saw no unlawful behaviour on the part of Dale.”

            “Another point of contention was Mr. Ford’s assertion that Mr. Dale was standing on cinder blocks to peer over the mayor’s fence — a claim that a subsequent police investigation revealed to be false.”

            http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/12/12/reporter-daniel-dale-suing-rob-ford-over-alleged-pervert-accusation-during-conrad-black-interview/

          • A police investigation means nothing because they’ve forgotten how to actually investigate. It’s only about laying as many charges as possible and since the security camera could not positively identify Dale and did the police decide the cinder block allegation was false only due to Dale’s denial of it? The police decided THEY didn’t want to proceed with charges. Especially when the police were already spying on Ford, it wouldn’t look good. The fact does remain that the police did not make ANY attempt to retrieve the deleted photos.

          • “The fact does remain that the police did not make ANY attempt to retrieve the deleted photos.”

            Really? I’d never heard that. Where was that documented? Do you have a source or a link for that? Thanks!

          • Really? Of course you’ve never heard that because your media refuses to bring that little factoid to light. Just use your superhuman journalistic powers, pick up the phone, dial the Toronto police who were investigating and ask. BTW it’s common knowledge (well maybe not that common) that police NEVER try and recover deleted photos…unless it’s to their benefit. In this case recovering the photos would not work for them since their agenda was all about spying on Ford.

          • Oh stop it, I’ll come

          • hollinm: “Just asking”

            And you’re just asking because Rob Ford made the claim. If Ford has as little evidence as it appears, your post is demonstrating the kind of impact that a libel suit is trying to mitigate.

          • Agreed: We know that Ford has nothing left to hide, and it is not as though he is a known and proven liar, under fire, and lashing out all over the place to keep his job.

          • This comment is precisely why he has to sue: a presumption of guilt because an allegation has been made. Presumably, like Harper, if the allegation has any merit, which seems doubtful from all I have read, Dale will drop the suit.

          • You should have stopped at “I have no idea” …

        • Catch up with the rest of us, man!

          The police DID investigate, and came to the conclusion that the reporter was NOT skulking the yard and NOT taking pictures.

          This isn’t even up for debate at this point. Why do you doubt the official police version?

          • Because he wants his “team” to win.

          • Duh! Why would doubt the police version? Any sane person would doubt any police for that matter. Typical sore loers

          • The official police version is all about not having enough evidence to charge Dale. In case you didn’t realize, they don’t actually investigate, they only take the information brought to them and decide whether they have a good chance of a conviction.

        • Ford never said no such thing

      • The real judgement call is deciding to pursue the suit. Generally the first consideration is whether suing and hence amplifying the allegation will create far more damage the letting words be spoken and then left to die away with time.
        In the instant case, I like many others, have long since stopped paying attention to the various ramblings of the wayward mayor.
        Except this particular journalist has let the world know there is something very, very important for the world to consider: these allegations made against him.
        An awful judgement call.

        • No

        • Considering when you google Dale’s name and all the pedophile comments come up, I would say good job!

    • In most cases this would make sense, but that this is Rob Ford we’re talking about. You can see how his brain would process this – you mean if I’m in legal proceedings with a reporter they are in conflict of interest and can’t report on me? Hell, I’ll libel every reporter in town into a lawsuit. There will be no one left to cover me.

    • Why should Ford get rewarded for lying about someone’s character or behaviour? Especially if the job that person does has been instrumental in exposing lies that Ford has been telling. If Dale get’s pulled off the beat for suing, Ford has won the first battle in this skirmish.

      If Dale starts reporting with evident bias, his editors or the publisher can remove him from the beat. Until then, it’s his right to sue when defamed, and his right to keep doing his job until he demonstrates unprofessionalism.

  2. Me. too. And I hope It makes ford shut up about all his lies.

    • And you too

  3. Ford will apologize because of the sheer terror of having to say anything about ANYTHING under oath. (remember that he also refused to speak to the police a while back – ring a bell?)

    • I doubt he is concerened about that particular problem. People say completely incredible things under oath and rarely face penalties beyond not being believed. If there is one person on the planet who believes he can just say whatever pops into his head at the moment with no consequence at all, that person is Rob Ford.

      • Oh gees, too bad he is not as perfect as you, (sob)

    • Where were the police when the media would not get off Ford’s lawn?

  4. Of course, the poor can’t sue anyone. So they have no protection against libel. But then again, when was the last time a poor person tangled with Conrad Black, Rob Ford, or Paul Wells?

    • Hence my well-known fondness for libelling poor people, “Frank.”

      • You don’t, “Paul,” but someone in your position could. Other newspapers do it all the time. Usually on the front page.

        • I like the part about “Paul”. Like you’re saying, “Well, ‘Paul’, if that IS your real name…” Good talk, Frank Talk.

          • Thank you for unpacking my meaning so rigorously.

      • Hmm, I thought Paul put the steak knifes back in the drawer due to legal threats, perhaps it never went to court though.

        • Steak Knives!

          Classic.

        • I thought it was when he got rid of the El Dorado.

      • Had any comments deleted lately, oh thin skinned one?

        • And I’m not referring to yesterday’s censoring by the bearded clam.

    • or the Toronto Star

      • Hear hear.

        • Frank Talk, what’s the news? Did you get Mr Meyers’ land back for him yet? I’ve been waiting to hear what your plan is…

          • My plan is to paint your belly with an image of the Sacred Meyer Eagle and carry you on my shoulders naked through the streets of Trenton. You up?

          • I do like the performance art aspect. But you’d best start on a Plan B, because I’m not sure the sight of me naked is going to attract any positive attention.

          • I’m playing the long game.

  5. “A Superior Court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 22, likely in the midst of a federal election campaign, where expert evidence on the authenticity and integrity of the tape will be heard.”
    That didn’t go too well for Harper either.

    The thing that so bothered me so much in this case is how the libel law allowed Harper to force the liberals to sign a non disclosure agreement, essentially because they were broke and couldn’t take the case any further. It also allowed the bright lights in the CPC to claim they won…my understanding is libel has to be proven. Harper lost.
    So i’m not overly fond of the idea that libel laws protect anyone other those with deep pockets.
    Just listened to AMT’s interview with Conrad on as it happens, where she came as close to eviscerating His Lordship as you can get over his taking a pass on Ford’s alleged libel. I’m fairly tolerant of Black considering his penchant for conceit and pomposity generally gets right up my nose.[ because he does try at least for a guy out in right field to clamber outside his box surprisingly often] But his transparent hypocrisy is nauseating, considering he’s so protective of his allegedly good name.
    Edit: oops, was Carol Off.

    • I don’t think money was an issue. Remember, you can’t FORCE someone to keep suing you if they don’t want to. And IIRC it’s not like there was any smoking gun hidden info that was kept from us because of the non-disclosure. Given a choice between taking something when it was offered, and just letting the CPC slink away when it was convenient for them, they took the former. The best they could have hoped for was a judge saying “by all means, continue to posit your opponent’s actions were criminal”, which might not have been worth anything by the time it came, even if the CPC would ever let it go that far.

      • I’d need more convincing on that score. I can see the libs deciding the likelihood of actually nailing Harper wasn’t worth the cost. Do you know if the paid their own costs, or was that also conveniently in the NDA?

        • I honestly don’t recall that. But also recall the practice not discussing a matter before the coat. Unless the Libs were willing to stray from that time honoured (and practical) conduct, there was no way to effectively discuss the matter at all until the CPC deemed it OK.

          • I believe in the legal world they’re called “suits”, not “coats”.

          • haha. i meant to write court, of course :)

      • The discontinuation of an action requires either the defendant’s consent or an order of the court. When a plaintiff motions for discontinuation the defendant ordinarily counter motions for a cost order that will dissuade the plaintiff from further litigation.

        • The CPC didn’t have to officially withdraw to make it go nowhere, in fact it would defeat their purpose to do so if they just want to let it go at a time of their choosing. Sure the Liberals could eventually put an official end to it if that had been the case, but they might not have been able to do so by today’s date, let alone a politically useful timeframe.

    • Gotta lawyer on speed-dial ?

      • I’m still looking for one that will work on contingency[ I think that's the expression?] on the contingency I win the lotto.

      • Penny just dropped. :)

        His Lordship can go after all my assets, he’s welcome. Somehow I don’t think he does second hand though.

  6. It’s a matter of Dale’s word what he was doing in the evening behind Ford’s backyard. Maybe if the parcel that Ford was attempting to buy was actually located there, rather than somewhere else, then perhaps Dale’s explanation might have more weight. But since there was in actual fact no valid reason for him to be there, it’s not unreasonable for anyone to speculate. Therefore whatever Ford is claiming is not knowingly false. Ford can speculate all he likes what Dale’s motives and actions were. So I don’t think the suit has a chance.

    • Actually this country’s Western based law has a century plus of saying one does not have free reign to ‘speculate’. And for good reason. You best start telling the truth instead of provable lies. And, really, your lies and insinuations aside (…for now ) do you think if it comes to weighing the character and honesty of Rob Ford and Daniel Dale, Ford would be judged the most credible? Let us wait and see.

      • I never said one has free reign to speculate. I said it’s not unreasonable to speculate in this instance. I think both Dale and Ford lied about the incident and it’s impossible to know the truth. In this instance, I believe speculation is justifiable.

        • But only one was subjected to scrutiny by an outside agent that is charged with investigating crimes.
          The conclusion that agent came too, coupled to Ford’s track record with respect to the veracity of his statements means that after fair reflection Ford is less believable than the other by a huge degree.

          • Neither one of those statements has any bearing on this case. It does not matter if the police investigated Ford (but of course they had no reason to do so, not for that incident).
            Secondly, you cannot prove a case of libel by simply labeling the accused as untrustworthy in general. That is not enough.

          • I was replying to your assertion

            “I think both Dale and Ford lied about the incident and it’s impossible to know the truth. In this instance, I believe speculation is justifiable.”

            not proving a case of libel.

            Speculation isn’t justifiable because of what I said above, unless of course precedent and police refusing to take further action carry no weight in your deliberations.

    • It’s a matter of Dale’s word what he was doing in the evening behind Ford’s backyard. Maybe if the parcel that Ford was attempting to buy was actually located there, rather than somewhere else, then perhaps Dale’s explanation might have more weight.

      Where did you get the idea that the parkland Ford wanted to buy wasn’t next to his backyard? The whole reason he wanted to buy it was to build a fence to create a safer place for his kids to play. The mayor’s letter asking about buying the land explicitly refers to the land backing on to his backyard: “James Gardens, a City of Toronto park, backs onto our property. Edenbridge Centre, the city-operated recreation facility, is also next to our home. We have a number of safety concerns, as we have encountered youth encroaching on our property late at night on a number of occasions…”

      ETA: It’s also not JUST Dale’s word. The police did investigate the complaint, and decided that Dale was doing exactly what Dale said he was doing, and that there was no basis for Ford’s concerns.

      • Look at the graphic the TO Star provided. Dale was in the wrong place.

        “and decided that Dale was doing exactly what Dale said he was doing”

        Yes, they pulled the tape from video cam in the pine tree, and interviewed the local squirrels to get corroborating evidence. They did not decide anything other than whether there was sufficient evidence to charge him with something or not. That’s it. Nobody other than Dale knows what Dale was doing.

        “there was no basis for Ford’s concerns”

        That’s not a fact, that was a judgement call, and of course there’s a 1000 mile difference between the evidence required to charge Dale with something and the evidence Dale requires to sue Ford, so it does not matter a damn thing what the police said.

        • Actually, you can’t go around publicly accusing individuals of behaviour if you have no evidence to support it. If I accused you of trespassing in my back yard, and the police investigated and found no evidence to support that, I could not proceed to keep saying that you did. The onus is on the person making negative public proclamations about an individual to back them up. And one’s judgement alone is insufficient. Libel law is clear on that.

          • Libel law also requires the accused to knowingly know that what he is saying is false.
            There is plenty of evidence to support the possibility that Dale was looking into the home.
            In fact, I find it more likely that he was doing so, rather than his claim that (a) he did not know where the parcel was, after driving out there, and in this day and age of information technology (you’d think he would figure out before walking all over the place, you’d think he’d want to know rather than just be guessing), and (b) he was taking pictures as it was getting dark, sometime around 7:30, rather than coming earlier in the day at a time when it would be bright, and there would less likely be people around that he might be disturbing as he walked around the property.
            I’m not saying Dale’s story is false, but I’m not saying I believe it either.
            Somehow he took a long walk to an area that was not the parcel Ford was interested in. This area was also behind Ford’s backyard. It was in the evening. He did not announce himself or park in front of the Ford home, acts that might have avoided suspicion. He did not have anyone with him, another act that could have avoided suspicion. There is no way to know exactly what he was doing.
            Since he is quite possible not telling the truth, and it’s not possible to know the truth, then any possibility is not knowingly false.

            I personally do not believe he is a pedophile. But I also don’t believe Dale’s story, I think it is quite possible Dale succumbed to curiosity and stepped on a couple of blocks to peek into the home. He might have done this knowing he could have used Ford’s interest in a parcel as a reason for him being there. Unfortunately for him, he actually guessed wrong as to where the parcel was located.
            Because of all this uncertainty regarding Dale’s actions, it is impossible to rule out any given explanation, so I also don’t think he will be successful suing for libel.

          • From the CBA-BC

            “Defamation is communication about a person that tends to hurt the person’s reputation. Defamation is a strict liability tort, which means that the intentions of the defamer are not relevant. The communication must be made to other people, not just to the person it’s about. The statement must be false to be classified as defamation.”

            Doesn’t matter what he knew or what he intended and it was said to Connie the ex-Con on TV. He communicated it and he knew what he was saying would tend to hurt Dale’s reputation.

            These are the only defences
            Truth (known in law as “justification”) – Don’t think this applies
            Absolute privilege – nope
            Qualified privilege – nope
            Fair comment – not really covered by the public interest allowance
            Responsible communication on matters of public interest – he wasn’t acting as a journalist.

          • None of what you just posted is a reply to what I said. Libel must be “knowingly false”.

          • okay then.

          • No it doesn’t. As she pointed out. Have a read – first paragraph under Common-law provinces heading makes it pretty clear:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_defamation_law

            I thought much as you until recently, but read some material on it at work (I’m in legal publishing) and discovered I had been incorrect in my belief.

          • Oh, and another little gem from the wiki:

            “Defendants, once accused, are prima facie liable until they prove themselves innocent (reverse onus).”

            So to defend himself, Ford will have to prove the assertions he made are true – despite police reports to the contrary. Or that he didn’t actually say them (good luck with that defence!).

          • I’m not so sure about that. That leaves the door open to public speculation that might be true in the mind of the speaker. As I read the law, the onus is on the speaker to know the utterances are true on the basis of reasonable evidence. I can’t find any reference to “knowingly false”, but many that say the defendant in such cases must prove the veracity of the alleged libel.

          • Well, the phrase “knowingly false” is found in some descriptions of defamation and not others. Maybe in Canadian law other terms are used. The concept is similar to “based on reasonable evidence”. The idea is that you are not penalized simply for being wrong, you have to know that you are wrong. So, as an extreme example, if years ago someone had called Donald Marshall Jr., David Milgaard or Guy Paul Morin a cold-hearted killer, then today that would not be considered libel, even though we know the statement was 100% false, the statement harmed their reputations deeply, the statement was not an opinion but a statement of fact, and the statement fulfilled all other requirements of libel. The statement was false, but not knowingly false at the time, and thus not libel. That’s an extreme example. It’s similar to the “based on reasonable evidence” concept.

          • “There is plenty of evidence to support the possibility that Dale was looking into the home.”

            No, there is not. Perhaps you’d care to share your unique passel of evidence which has been overlooked by the TPS.

            Unless, of course, you were there? If so, what were you doing? Look, nobody’s gonna say that word, but you’d have to wonder about a guy like that.

          • He was behind the house in the evening, by himself, with the explanation he was examining a parcel, a parcel that was located elsewhere, as it was getting dark.
            That’s evidence.
            Perhaps you’re confusing evidence with proof. They are not the same thing.

          • No.

            By his own admission, the reporter was on a parcel of parkland behind the mayor’s home. This is evidence of the reporter being on a parcel of parkland behind the mayor’s home. That is all. You may extenuate and /or speculate upon this fact as you wish.

          • You have difficulty understanding what evidence is.

          • Please do enlighten us.

          • I dunno. Ford may well have believed that Dale was behind his house that night. But that the police investigated and found no evidence means from that point forward he can’t claim to be basing assertions on his own perceptions alone anymore. I can’t see the courts privileging Ford’s account over the police’s. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

          • According to the TO Star graphic, Dale was indeed behind the house (and yard) – this is the graphic here:
            http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/news/city_hall/2013/12/11/daniel_dale_rob_ford_is_lying_about_me_and_its_vile/cidanielstory10.jpg
            So I think that part has been established. Dale claimed that he was simply mistaken about where the parcel was, the one that Ford wanted to buy. I would have thought someone would have been clear on that before arriving at the Ford house, so I don’t believe him, I think he probably did want to check out the whole area. So Dale was indeed wandering around. I actually think that Dale was not truthful, that he probably was curious and he probably did peek into Ford’s backyard, to see what it looked like, but did not take pictures. Anyone would be curious – and I don’t think Dale would admit to it because it could be construed as somewhat creepy behaviour or an intrusion into privacy. I don’t believe Ford or Dale’s account of the incident, I think they’re both lying. In fact, I think it is quite possible Dale decided to wander around, knowing that he could use Ford’s desire to buy the parcel as a justification for Dale to be wandering around.
            That’s also why I think Ford’s wording is important. If he simply implied that Dale was peeking into Ford’s backyard and intruding into his privacy (which could very well be true), and there are a lot of possible explanations for that behaviour, and that nobody knows the truth except Dale, then to me none of that is libel.
            It’s the part where Ford insinuates pedophilia where he might get into trouble, and he never actually did say that, he just said it was creepy and you can draw your own conclusions, which I don’t think is enough to be considered libel.
            I think Dale was wandering around, probably peeking into Ford’s backyard, and I think it’s reasonable for anyone to speculate why, no matter how unlikely those speculations may be, because I think Dale is lying too.

          • One more thing about that graphic I did not notice before. Dale was trying to turn on his recorder when Ford confronted him. This is also inappropriate behaviour, in my opinion. It was not an interview, and the mayor had every right to question what Dale was doing there without being recorded.

        • So, you really think it’s likely that Dale was spying on the mayor and his kids?

          • I think it’s possible that Dale did step on a couple of blocks to peer over the fence and look into the home.
            It fits with the facts at hand. It fits better than Dale’s explanation that he didn’t know where the parcel was, and that he wanted to take pictures of the area at the same time it was getting dark. Those two claims are very unlikely, in my estimation. Exactly what he was doing, I have no idea, so all sorts of possibilities exist.

          • Nothing’s impossible, but Ford had originally claimed that it was neighbours who alerted him to Dale’s presence, and that Dale was standing on the blocks. Then, Ford apparently changed his story to claim that HE had seen it personally. In between those two stories the police investigated, and could not find any neighbours who saw anything, nor any who reported anything to Ford, nor any evidence that Ford could have seen what he said he saw after his original story fell apart.

            Everyone’s free to believe that the police are in on this massive conspiracy, but the police investigated Ford’s claims and found that not only was there no evidence that Dale had done anything wrong, but there WAS evidence that Ford had lied about certain aspects of the story.

            I may not trust the “media”, but I’ll take the word of a reporter who’s story isn’t disproved by a police investigation over that of a crack smoking, alcoholic mayor with a LOOOONG history of lying, who was found to have lied in regard to THIS SPECIFIC INCIDENT.

          • Heck, I don’t trust Ford either (who would at this point?) I trust neither Dale nor Ford.
            I wouldn’t take the word of either of them, I think they’re both lying. Because of that, I think Dale’s lawsuit will fail.

          • The police apparently didn’t think so.

          • Not true. The police didn’t think there was enough evidence to charge him. The police don’t tell us what their opinion is, they stick to doing their jobs.

          • Yes, that is the end of the story :-) Since our police never ever gets it wrong, like in G20 arrests for example. They always get their man. And what about the neighbor’s observations and conclusions about the reporter’s behavior?

          • If the police investigated and found nothing untoward, Ford has a serious uphill battle, as in a defamation suit the onus is on the defendant to prove his statements are NOT defamatory. He will have to overcome the results of the police investigation as part of his defence.

            And my memory of the event is somewhat fuzzy, but another poster on here says Ford could produce no witness and then said HE saw Dale. If that’s true, there may not be any “observations and conclusions.”

        • Yes, they pulled the tape from video cam in the pine tree.

          Don’t be so quick to assume that the cops didn’t have a video camera in that pine tree… :-)

        • Hmmm…

          A) The surveillance cameras that witnessed the non-incident are owned by Rob Ford, and the contents provided to police by Doug Ford.

          B) The Ford’s own personal footage was viewed by the police, who determined that Daniel Dale did not do anything wrong.

          C) Doug Ford has not made any comment to the effect that the police mis-interpreted the video.

          By applying your logic above, you seem to be insinuating that Doug Ford, to the detriment of his brother, family, neighbourhood and the hard-working taxpayers of Toronto, ‘cleaned’ the tapes to protect his good friend Daniel Dale.

          • You’re making assumptions about what the tapes show.

          • What assumptions?

            THE POLICE REVIEWED THE TAPE AND SAID THAT THEY SHOWED NOTHING.

          • What’s your point? I have a tape in the basement that shows nothing as well. The Pamela Anderson sex tapes also show nothing of interest in this case. Lots of tapes show nothing.

          • Do you believe the police, ? I mean Do you believe in Santa Claus

        • No, they pulled the card from Blackberry that Dale dropped when he thought he was being attacked by Ford. They saw the pictures that he took that night. Nothing like what Ford claims.

          • You forgot one little fact. The police made no attempt to recover the deleted photos.

          • Guy drops his phone on the ground as he flees an apparent assailant but, as its tumbling down, he, in a panic, deletes his most recent pics, leaving only earlier photos.
            Yeah… the cops miss all the obvious stuff..

          • Please prove your ‘facts’ if you think you know them. The rest of us have not read/seen/heard anything to suggest that the police did not do their job with the utmost professionalism.

          • Don’t take my word for it, ask them your own damn self. They will tell you that they made no attempt to recover the deleted photos.

    • Dale actually dropped his Blackberry when RoFO came running at him. The police found it when they came to investigate. So the phone provides corroboration, verified by the police, that Dale took no pictures of the Ford property or family on that night. That was widely reported at the time of the incident. Ford knows it. But he’s still claiming that something utterly different happened.

      And he’s “standing by” his fabrication, even though it has been proven long ago to be completely false. It’s no longer a simple misunderstanding based on his perception in the heat of the moment. He knows the truth and chooses to ignore it, for the purpose of defaming someone who works for The Star.

    • No it is not. Ford has taken this from spying to pedophilia. Dale does not have to disprove that.

      • Pedophilia is having a sexual interest in kids.

        Spying into someone’s home in the evening could be construed as spying on the kids specifically.

        It’s highly unlikely Dale is a pedophile, but unfortunately for him, it’s one of many possible explanations for the incident. Without knowing Dale’s true intentions, it’s impossible to rule anything out. Dale’s explanation was very weak, as I’ve pointed out in other comments, I think he is not telling the truth. Since he is quite possible not telling the truth, and it’s not possible to know the truth, then any possibility is not knowingly false.

        I personally do not believe he is a pedophile. But I also don’t think he will be successful suing for libel.

        • Should be fun seeing Dale’s credibility shredded in court. And the Star’s credibility with it.

          • I suppose, although I’m not so sure there’s much more to this story, so I don’t expect anything new to come out in court. But I could be wrong, anything is possible when it comes to the TO Star vs Rob Ford.
            I think the Star has already damaged their credibility, this will not change much. The fact that Dale continues to report on Ford, that shreds their credibility, it even goes against their own policies. Of course, Ford’s credibility was shredded already as well.

            I think it’s unlikely Ford will be able to prove Dale is lying, thus shredding Dale’s credibility, nor will Dale be able to prove his story is true, nor will Dale be able to win the case. I think Ford and Dale are both lying about the incident, however I don’t think Ford’s lies about the incident are enough to conclude he libeled Dale.

            That’s a lot of predictions, I’d like to add the disclaimer that anything is possible, and that I could be entirely wrong!

          • I also think that it might in fact be wise for Dale to file the suit, even if he loses. That way he is seen as vigorously defending himself. The downside is that he is actually attracting more attention to the incident by filing suit. However, since Ford has repeated the accusation more than once, maybe it’s better to file suit to show a vigorous defence to that accusation.

          • Heh. I am sure Dale will thank you for helping him make his case.

            I am thinking Ford will be unable to say his comments were not intended to imply Dale is a pedophile when people like you are posting that Dale now has to prove he is not one.

          • Not sure if you are replying to me, because I never said that, in fact I said the opposite.

        • Dale’s intentions are immaterial.

          What matters is that Ford said something that ” tends to hurt the person’s reputation.” He now has to defend his statements and provide evidence that allows him to claim one of the 5 defences allowed in law.
          You’d have realised this if you had bothered to read the post you dismissed as relevant.

          • “Dale’s intentions are immaterial.”

            Wrong. Dale’s intentions behind Ford’s house are very material.

          • The only way they become material is if Ford can prove what they were, then he can rely on a defence of truth. He can’t or he would have done so when he called the cops.
            So they are immaterial in this case.
            The law isn’t a blogging tories discussion forum where you get to invent stuff to back up your statements.

          • I’m not the one inventing stuff.

          • yes you are

            “Wrong. Dale’s intentions behind Ford’s house are very material.”

            how are they material in this libel case?

          • Dale may well have been looking into the Ford home. The evidence points in that direction. Just because Dale was never charged, that does not mean that his story is the most likely explanation.

          • “may well” means nothing and there is no evidence except the word of a serial liar, drunk and druggy. You have nothing except speculation and a bias against Dale.

            I hope if you are ever in court that someone like you is never on the jury.

          • Look, this is not about me, this is a comment board. I am commenting on Dale and Ford. Take a valium.

          • when you willfully equate Dale and Ford, then it is about you.

            You are willfully ignoring any past record to suit your position.
            Valium isn’t my thing, but I’ll take a tot of Calvados

          • No, you really need psychiatric help and/or drugs.

          • considering the source of that remark, I think I’ll be fine

          • I doubt it

          • Ford does not need to rely on a defense of truth.

            Ford has multiple defenses available, here are a few he might use (of course, I’m not his lwyer, nor am I an expert on Canadian law)

            -Statements made in a good faith and reasonable belief that they were true (Ford may really believe Dale was spying on his kids)

            -Opinion is a defense recognized in nearly every jurisdiction (It is Ford’s opinion that Dale was spying on Ford’s kids and it remains an opinion because it is not possible to know what Dale was doing because Dale is also lying)

            -Mere vulgar abuse is an insult that is not necessarily defamatory because it is not intended to be taken literally or believed. Vituperative statements made in anger, such as calling someone “an asshole” during a drunken argument, would likely be considered mere vulgar abuse and not defamatory. (Ford’s use of the word pedophile could be construed as an insult rather than a statement of fact).

            -No actual injury. Ford could claim there is no injury to Dale.

        • As I noted above – look it up. “Defendants, once accused, are prima facie liable until they prove themselves innocent (reverse onus).” Dale does not have to disprove what Ford said; it’s now on Rob to prove his assertion. And even if he can prove it, that’s not necessarily an absolute defence.

          Rob will need a very good lawyer.

          • Ford does not have to prove his assertion. Ford has to prove what he said was not libel.
            If I call you a lunatic, that’s not libel. If you sue me for calling you a lunatic, I do not have to prove that you are.

          • Yeah he does, if he wants to get off. And even truth isn’t always a defence from libel. Did you read that link I gave you?
            Subject: Re: New comment posted on The Rob Ford libel action: reporters are citizens too

          • No, he does not. Your own link has a list of possible defenses. Did you read the link you posted?

        • You’re waaaaay out to lunch on this one, even for you.

          • Merry Christmas to you too.

        • Utter nonsense.

        • Being notably obtuse is also not a defence, as in saying intentions of the reporter were not known when he informed the newspaper on site of his whereabouts, was following up a legitimate story that other reporters had also covered in the same day, day before and days after. The land that as in question was not clearly identified on maps and was behind, not beside the mayor’s home as he had wished to acquire the land to put up a security fence to avoid teenagers in the neighbourhood, according to his brief to the executive committee of the conservation agency, which turned down the request for purchase 9-1 as inappropriate. Another telling incident occurred the following day when a National Post reporter caught the mayor pulling up cinder blocks that were in the ground on city property and piling them up near his back fence. The cinder blocks were part of an initial claim that the mayor had made. The subsequent police investigation dismissed all claims made by the mayor as baseless and completely exonerated the reporter’s account of the May 2, 2012 incident.

          • “The land that as in question was not clearly identified on maps”
            False.
            ” a National Post reporter caught the mayor pulling up cinder blocks that were in the ground on city property and piling them up near his back fence”
            Also false.
            ” The subsequent police investigation dismissed all claims made by the mayor as baseless and completely exonerated the reporter’s account of the May 2, 2012 incident.”
            Also false. The police are not a court of law. The only thing the police will do is decide if there is enough evidence to charge someone or not.

          • More than one reporter was on the scene during May 2012 to check the layout of the property as it had been variously described as “neighbouring”, “adjacent” “next” to the mayor’s home and even a “sliver of land”. The parkland is in a semicircular form and it was identified on a A map provided by the TRCA which further shows that the parcel of land the mayor wanted to acquire is adjacent to his home on the northeast side. The reporter was obviously confuse as to the location and was on the southeast side of the house when he was confronted by the mayor. Not only were photographs taken on May 2 showing the placement of the three cinder blocks in the park area but clearly show two of them piled up the next day when photographed by the National Post reporter. He and neighbours nearby saw the mayor move the blocks. The mayor called the police on 911 call on May 2, 2012 claiming that an intruder had been trespassing in his backyard, at the time there was no mention of his children in the report. The police investigation found the mayor’s claim was “false” and upon examination of the evidence in the reporter’s cell phone and the mayor’s security camera, did not proceed with any charges.

          • The TO star published a map.
            http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/news/city_hall/2013/12/11/daniel_dale_rob_ford_is_lying_about_me_and_its_vile/cidanielstory10.jpg

            The reporter should have known where the parcel was, and was clearly in the wrong place. It is unlikely the reporter is telling the truth, Dale likely became curious and decided to take a look around. His story about being confused is not believable. He was clearly in the wrong place. If he were actually on the parcel in question, then his story would be more credible. Dale is most likely lying.
            As for the cinder blocks, you’re already changing the story – previously you said a reporter caught him moving them, I correctly pointed out you were lying, now you’re saying people are claiming evidence that they were moved. It’s quite possible Ford decided to move them away from the fence after the incident, so that nobody could peer over the fence while standing on them. That is far, far, far more likely than the ridiculous insinuation that Ford found cinder blocks and moved them into his backyard, for no reason. In fact, that is what any normal person would do after finding a stranger behind their fence, they would make it harder to peer over the fence!
            Go on, talk all you like. This has little bearing on my reasons for saying that the suit will not succeed.

          • The cinder blocks figured into the original farcical tale told by the mayor and became part of the narrative where his brother claimed that security footage showed the reporter bobbing up and down. The blocks were moved to bolster a story that was already proved false by police investigation. Once a notice of libel is given, the litigants who are named have only two options, “retract and apologize” for the defamation or after a six-week period or prepare for court action to defend the statement. The onus is on the litigants to show that the statement was factual, which is highly unlikely given the amount of evidence that clearly supports the reporter’s account of the events of May 2, 2012.

    • Ford wasn’t speculating. He clearly said Dale was in his back yard, taking photos of his children. Dale was on parklands provided for general public use, and it was the property Ford was trying to buy. Ford knows his allegation is false because the police investigated Dale and concluded Dale never entered onto Ford’s property or took any invasive photos. “Knowingly false” is not a requirement for libel. Any false statement which defames is sufficient.

      • “and it was the property Ford was trying to buy”

        no, it was not. The property he was trying to buy was to the side of his house, it was not behind. Dale was not in the correct place.

        “Any false statement which defames is sufficient.”

        That is also incorrect.

  7. Given all the things The Star has written about Ford since early 2010, this may get interesting, and provide him a high-profile forum in the 2014 election year where he can make the case for his and his family’s right to privacy, and indeed the right of all citizens to privacy in their homes. It’s not as clear as Dale thinks. He could just as well have been implying Dale was a voyeur. It’s certainly odd that a newspaper reporter wouldn’t use google maps and street view to spec out the mayor’s property before going there and being found wandering around many feet from the piece of land he says he was there to “investigate”. It’s my belief The Star should have apologized at the time and moved Dale to a different beat. I’ll be surprised if the judge doesn’t say the same.

    This is happening as The Star’s circulation has dropped and it has put up an online paywall. I wonder what coverage other papers will give this court drama. And if you can only afford one paper a day, whose account of it would you read?

    • The Police found no evidence to support the claims of syping on Ford’s residence, standing on a cinder block to peek over the fence, or any such claims. They unequivocally backed Dale’s version that we was simply scouting public parkland that the Mayor was TRYING TO BUY.

      Just what should the Star have apologized for?

      • and, just what should M. Ford apologize for?
        if someone was spying on my kids, I would be mad as hell, just like M. Ford, as soon as you go after the children, one is toasted, and, M. Ford never called him a pedophile, again “allegations”, always allegations = gossip
        Toronto city have created their own misery, too bad for the ones that voted for M. Ford, and still support him: Your votes, that you went out of your way for, well, a minority dismissed them, I feel sorry for you, voters, you have done your job.

        • But Dale wasn’t spying on the Mayor’s kids! The police found no evidence to back Ford’s claims about that, yet Ford keeps repeating the lie. That alone is grounds for libel, I should think. An apology would be the least the Mayor could do.

          Since we’re asking questions: could you please tell me what any reasonable person would assume the following words are alluding to, if not pedophile motivations….

          “the worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say the word, but you start thinking, you know, what’s this guy all about?”

          What word didn’t Ford want to say?

          • Voyeur? Kidnapper? Human smuggler?

            I see your point. I’m fed up to here with Rob Ford and wish he’d just resign and end this miserable charade of a mayoralty. He shouldn’t have said what he said. I think he was probably trying to imply what Dale says he is.

            But this is a court. IANAL but to me “fill in the blank” is not sufficient for Dale to say he was called a pedophile; at least not legally.

          • Actually, it’s the words around the blank that are inescablly defamatory. The particular phrasing Ford used minimallly leaves blank only the word that associates negative motivations on Dale’s part toward children. I see no way to spin that as benign, and no way to suggest that’s not an attack on Dale’s reputation and public name. Furthermore, as a journalist, Dale’s livelihood can suffer if smears that suggest he attempts to photogtraph children for unspecified nefarious reasons are allowed to stand unchallenged, and are made without a shred of evidence.

            There is also the matter that Ford keeps saying Dale was engaged in spying and photography for which no evidence was found to support. Again, a direct attack on Dale’s integrity and public name that could have real effects on his future employment.

            We have lies, direct accusations of inappropriate interest in children, and both a name and a career that could suffer damage. The case for libel is pretty strong, by any measure.

          • I see your point. Take out the word pedophile from the suit and he may have a case.

            Leave it in, and I think his case is doomed.

          • I agree. If the case is only launched on the basis of and allusion to the word “pedophile”, the defence can pretty quickly weasel out of it.

          • And if I can play devil’s advocate for a moment (like I don’t do enough of that already)…Dale’s continuing to insist that Ford called him a pedophile could invite a countersuit.

          • is this countersuit to be in defamation? if so it has to damage the persons reputation. I am not sure Rob Ford would expect very much if his case is “There is a good chance I will be thought of as a person who tosses around the word pedophile at reporters, when rather I am the kind of person who makes broad hints and wink-winks at a certain ugly term.”

          • Good point as well.

          • When did the reporter ever say that the mayor called him a pedophile? I believe it was the newspaper editor that actually voiced that concern? The reporter claimed the notice of libel was based on “lies” uttered by the litigants.

          • I agree that a lot hinges on Ford’s wording and Dale’s accusations.

            Also, when I see these words:

            “the worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want
            to say the word, but you start thinking, you know, what’s this guy all
            about?”

            To me those words are not a knowingly false statement. They are an opinion surrounding an incident for which the truth is unknowable. He is not suggesting what he is saying is true, he is suggesting one possible explanation, as unlikely as it may be. An unlikely opinion is not the same thing as a knowingly false statement.

            I also think a reasonable person would see it that way, it’s an opinion expressed by Ford that is highly unlikely. Because Dale’s story is also unlikely and the truth is unknowable, Ford’s entitled to express an opinion about what Dale was doing behind his house.

          • Your idea is too cute by half. Stockwell Day couldn’t weasel out of his accusations just because he said he “wondered” whether the defence lawyer was a pedophile. And if indeed this was the case, Ford absolutely needed, assuming he’s sticking to his version of events, at the earliest possible moment to say “at the time based on the limited information was available I jumped to the conclusion that someone had come to my property with the intent to harm my children. Later I learned it was a reporter and that my immediate instinct was inaccurate.” It might be too late now to try that route, however, after he has had the chance to clarify and doubled down.

          • Yet, the reporter was not in the mayor’s backyard; the neighbour did not report that, the mayor did not see that as he confronted the reporter in the adjacent city parkland and his security camera did not show that. There was only photograph taken of trees and shrubbery but because the battery in the reporter’s cell phone had run down, the photograph could not be saved to the hard drive, all substantiated by the forensic review of the evidence found in the cell phone and security video. The mayor’s children were inside the house doing homework according to the mayor’s first statement. Yet you could declare that the mayor’s statement on Vision TV that included claims of trespass and pedophilia were “… not a knowingly false statement”.

          • Why on earth would the reporter be in the backyard? That makes no sense.

            What the mayor’s children were doing inside the house is completely irrelevant. Who cares?

          • It would be silly to assume the case won’t be drafted to include any number of allegations claiming he had an inappropriate interest in children. I have to admit my mind leaped to pedophile, and that may be telling. But he clearly meant to draw a damaging image which was almost certianly unfounded.

          • But, as I think about it, Ford has been given an opportunity to distance himself from the immediate public assumption that he meant pedophile. All he has chosen to say is that he stands by his words. By taking that position in light of public interpretations about the orginal statement, is there chance that the “pedophile” dimension of the suit will hold greater credence?

          • Except the test is what a reasonable person would think that Ford was saying. That everyone and their dog who heard that comment concluded that Ford meant to imply that Dale was pedophile makes for an uphill battle for Ford.
            Worse, when given the opportunity to clarify his statements, Ford , knowing how his words were being interpreted, didn’t “clarify” that he had been misquoted/misunderstood (i.e., the usual Ford BS), he reiterated that he stood by his initial wording.

          • Even if Ford meant to imply Dale was a pedophile, that doesn’t lose the case. Ford can counter this is an opinion based on the incident that occurred, and opinion that is not knowingly false. That’s a defense. His opinion is one of many possible explanations for Dale’s behaviour, and the truth of the matter (Dale’s actions behind Ford’s house) is unknown.

          • If that were true, then it would be lawful to call every person who watches children in a playground, or school play, or just walking down the street, a pedophile.

            And yet it is not…

          • Those comparisons are ridiculous. Even so, if a complete stranger stopped to spend time watching my kids in the playground, without appearing to be doing anything else, it would make me nervous, it would make any parent nervous.

          • Making you nervous is no the same as calling someone a pedophile.

            The comparisons are right on the mark. You cannot pick and choose your situations.

            PS no one suspected Dale of being a pedophile until Ford said that, and now you are posting all over the place that what Dale did naturally lead to that suspicion. Hence: libel

          • Ford did not say he was a pedophile. But regardless, your analysis is simplistic and unworthy of rebuttal.

          • He suggested he was a pedophile, and then when people recognized that was what he was saying, he refused to retract his comment or clarify it in a way to make it clear he was not suggesting he was a pedophile. Which is why he is being sued, and comments like the ones you have been posting here will help him make his case.

            If my analysis is so simplistic, then it should be easy for you to address it. And yet you cannot.

            It is OK. I understand. I have made my point and you cannot refute it.

            Cheers!

          • What the heck are you talking about? You appear to be going off on tangents that have nothing to do with what I said. I already explained why I believe the suit will fail, and those reasons are unrelated to what you’re talking about now.

          • I am talking about my comparison which makes my point, and your inability to refute it. Seems to me that if you thought I was on a tangent you would have said that 3 posts ago, instead of trying to claim my comparisons are ridiculous and my analysis simplistic.

            Anyway, thanks for continuing to demonstrate you have no point of your own..

            Cheers!

          • Get over yourself.

          • I will take that as a concession.

            Thanks

          • I said, get over yourself.

          • Oh, I think courts are perfectly entitled to make reasonable inferences based on a reasonable person standard. I think Ford flew very close to the sun there, arguably too close. I guess we’ll see.

        • Why should we listen to your comments if Doug Ford paid you $20 and a Tim Hortons card to post defamatory comments online? See what I did there? Exactly what you just did. Made a claim for which I have no evidence for and asked you to speculate on the consequences.

          • you can’t defame an internet alias, the community the comments are broadcast to is far smaller, and the allegations far less serious.

    • There’s one flaw in your arguement, everything the Toronto Star published about Ford was or turned out to be true.

      Ford on the other hand, has been proven to be a liar. He lied about his criminal record, he lied about using crack, he lied about being drunk. Then again, he’s got nothing left to hide.

    • Just to be completely fair, Sun Media (All the Sun papers), Post Media (Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette, etc.), the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s and countless other newspapers and magazines’ circulations have dropped and have put up online paywalls.

      To pick only on the Star with the reasons you have presented is rather small-minded and desperate.

  8. Here’s the thing about Rob Rord….he’s not rational. Any rational person would have come out and said, “I did not intend to imply Dale was a pedophile and I apologize if that’s how it came out”. The fact that Ford says in the interview that he’s not going to say the word (i.e. pedophile) indicates the word he’s taking about is indeed pedophile. Ford had every intention to call Dale that, but thought by not saying it, he wouldn’t be liable.

    The other thing about Ford is that issuing a apology on this would do more to damage him politically with Ford nation than smoking crack, driving drunk or associating with criminals. In Ford nation, saying sorry is a greater scandal than any of the above.

    • At this point…..does anyone even think another apology by Ford would have any impact?
      Apologies are only as good as the sincerity behind them.

      • I wish he was as perfect as you, Darn!

    • I had someone point out a co-worker and said, he’s a diddler, and I never thought much about it until a few years later when I was walking through a toy section in a major store and here the guy was, just sitting on a chair in the toy section. Now, do I just trash him where he sits, go to the security and express my dismay, what?
      According to this, even mentioning it to the security would have me arrested?

      • You don’t think there’s a huge difference between voicing a concern to a security officer versus making an unsubstantiated claim on national television?

        • In fact disseminating concerns to one person in particular who has authority to act makes it very hard to make out defamation, which deals with public reputation.

          That being said, you should be wary of unsubstanitiated rumour and spreading it around to anyone, publicly or not.

  9. I’ll bet the 75-100 people that Torstar recently laid off are thrilled that their salaries are being used to fund Daniel Dale’s lawsuit (which according to Dale the Star is funding). Or were they used to pay for the helicopter that chased Rob Ford around the city one day? I’ve lost track. Maybe they’ll lay off another tranche to cover this one.

    • Wasn’t it a plane, and not a helicopter?

      And wasn’t the plane a Toronto Police surveillance plane?

        • Man. The whole sky was filled with people watching Ford!
          :-)

          ETA: Hilarious that the complaints in that article are mostly about Toronto SUN reporters!

          • Suddenly reminded of the scene in Casino where the feds have to land on the fairway of the golf course that Joe Pesci is playing on. :)

          • I’ve thought of that scene many times! Then Pesci and friends try to hit the plane with their drives off the tee.

        • Ha

          interesting that you use a link to a media chain that is laying off thousands of workers to support your argument against a paper laying off 100

    • Well, in any really big corporation, you know there’s lot of cases of the CEO spending more on a single flight in a private jet than your annual salary. So the feeling is not unusual, but it’s certainly not pleasant when the company tells you they have no money to pay you, but then they seem to find plenty of money for lots of other things.

  10. Question:

    Is it even possible for a man of Rob Ford’s reputation with the truth to damage Daniel Dale’s reputation with *anything* he says?

    Can someone be such a pathological liar that it is literally impossible for them to defame anybody because nobody takes a word they say seriously?

    • http://cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Dial-A-Law/Scripts/Your-Rights/240

      There’s nothing here that suggests the reputation of the defamer has any bearing. Only that the utterance has been made publicly. As the Mayor of Toronto making the statements on television, and then standing by them at a public press conference the next day, the bar for public dissemination has been met.

      Also, Ford still enjoys a good reputation with thousands and thousands of Canadians. Conrad Black seems to have taken his words as truth, for one. So I don’t expect the defense can easily hide behind the notion that their client has no sway or ability to hurt the reputation and standing of others.

      • I was only half serious. :)

        • Sorry! My OCD kicking in.

      • I think you’re right, and john g is right, that it is possible in some cases to say it’s impossible to claim damages because the accused has such a poor reputation that damages are not possible.

        “No actual injury: If there is third-party communication,
        but the third-party hearing the defamatory statement does not believe
        the statement, or does not care, then there is no injury, and therefore,
        no recourse.”

        Someone could actually say that:
        -Ford is a person that nobody believes much of the time.
        -Also, nobody cares what Ford says a lot of the time.
        -Therefore, there has been no damage

        That could be used as a defense. But I agree with you, I doubt it would work in this case.

        • In this case, ‘the thrid party’ defense (were that to be bravely attempted) is a national television audience watching and listening to a PUBLISHED document (i.e., Vision/Zoomer’s broadcast, which elevates the claim from Slander to Libel) and those who saw or commented on such after the fact. Way to go Parry Mason.

          This line of defense will be further complicated if a relatively small stakes TV player like Vision apologizes. After all, they taped ‘the conversation Friday, with ample opportunity to reconsider their editing choices. And they aired it regardless. Twice. Expect an “Oopsie,Vision/Zoomer apologizes immediately “publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely.” before the weekend is out. That’s the clock to watch. (The Ford clock is broken. Even then it can’t tell the true time twice a day.)

          Assuming Vision/Zoomer does so, gosh, that puts Mr. Ford in a bit of a bind, does it not?

          One supposes you will rush to determinedly interview every viewer, Twitter user, newspaper commenter, and the rest of the ‘Third Party’ to mount the defense and hasten true justice in this inexplicable action against his Worship?

          • Well, like I said, I don’t think this defense would work. For it to work, Ford’s standing with everyone would have to be very low, because, as you said, lots of people have heard the statement. He would have to be like Bernie Madoff, someone whose reputation is shot to pieces with everyone. But Ford is still mayor, and he still has a large number of people who would vote for him. So this defense is likely a no-go.

        • What a badge of honour that would be… “I’m so full of sh*t, I can’t be held responsible for anything I say.”

        • Ah! The “bozo” defence!

        • There’s always the “I was in a drunken stupor” fallback. :)

          • and the “I was on a coke high” fallback

      • “…for one.” Conrad Black isn’t a Canadian.

        • He just lives here, pulbishes in a Canadian newspaper and interviewed Ford on a Canadian TV network. But hair splitting aside, can we assume that of the thousands of Torontonians who still support Ford, most are Canadian?

    • Sort of a “crazy uncle” exemption. That makes intuitive sense, although it’s hard to imagine it applying to a sitting Mayor, no matter how tenuous his political position and reputation.

      • No. The consistency and stubborn repetition of an easily established falsehood (“He was standing on blocks, Looking into my yard. Taking pictures of my kids, Geez, eh? Creeeeepy”.) would tend to undermine the ‘Crazy Uncle’ thing (not that it even really exists.) Why, the doubling-, then tripling-down on those statements to distinct and various outlets may even establish a pattern of rational, willful defamation.

  11. Let’s see what could be revealed in court.
    Planning officials could testify about Ford applying to aquire a piece of public property for personal use.

    Dale’s editor could testify about story assignment, meetings and communication with Dale from the field.
    The police could enter Ford’s video and Dale’s phone and camera evidence.
    Dale could enter his notes.
    Ford can say the police are lying; Dale is lying and the editor is lying but would be unable to enter a single bit of corroberation.
    Ford is putting himself in a position where a court could rule that he is lying.

    • I’d guess that Ford’s attorneys will welcome the opportunity to get Star staff under oath. I think their testimony could be most revealing as to the mind-set there and the almost continuous hammering of Ford from long before the last mayoralty campaign. This might be a case of be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it.

      • There’s a little thing called relevance. None of that gives Ford permission to blatanty lie about and defame another. So I really can’t see a judge allowing the line of questioning you propose.

        • Ahoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo,

      • “I’d guess that Mr. Dale’s attorneys will welcome the opportunity to get Ford under oath. I think his testimony could be most revealing as to the mind-set there and the almost continuous hammering of The Star from long before the last mayoralty campaign. This might be a case of be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it.”

        Fixed it for you.

    • Gering,ding, ding , ding.

  12. More of the media bullying Ford.

    yawn

  13. The media feed their addiction to Rob Ford….
    Hopefully they drive from the mayor’s office so he can run provincially and clean up the mess the liberals made there.

  14. No one at the Star was ever going to treat Ford fairly before this lawsuit so them breaking their own ‘ethics’ guidleines makes little difference.
    It’s not like the are in the news business, they are just a pack of hate filled and deranged liberals attack rats.

  15. You have to remember that RoFo is a big scaredy cat. When the Warrier Princess came to talk he sqealed , ran and called the cops. It’s easy to imagine him being terrified to the point of hysteria by Dale and uttering words he would never use if not vewy, vewy afraid.

  16. Who cares. Daniel Dale has been stalking Ford for years. Literally stalking him. Is that not more than a little perverted?

    Sadly, this is all about the Star trying to drum up readers. The only reason anybody buys that rag anymore is because of their stalking of Rob Ford. So now they sue Rob Ford so they can keep publishing stories about Rob Ford.

    Daniel Dale is a very creepy dude. For that reason alone he’ll lose his suit.

    • Yes, Dick – we know. And when the judge finds in favour of Dale it will be because he is owned and paid for by the Lib-left conspiracy.
      BTW – nice tinfoil. Did you shape the hat yourself?

      • Aaaaahhh are bad things happening to poor little dannny dd?
        Poor poor poor little peeky peeky.

    • Stupie’s unintentional hilarity never fails.
      Ford will will the suit because Dale is a “perverted”, “creepy,” “stalk(er)”. Evidence? Ford said so!

    • Is that stalking like normal people think of it?
      Or stalking like he accused Marg Delehunty of?

  17. If reporters are mere citizens, then the “Responsible Journalism” defense to libel (not coincidentally the result of another Star pursuit of a conservative pol) should not exist. Also, keeping Dale covering Ford is indefensible. Cooke’s parsing of real v. Apparent conflict is something pols are not allowed to get away with either. Anyhow, this may be to the good in the long run because the Star is really destroying itself over Ford, most egregiously paying for the WWF rant video.

    • Responsible journalism is a defence all journalists can use not all citizens, although given the net and the concept of citizen journalism that may change. But journalists don’t cease becoming citizens on qualifying out of journalism school.
      So one can be a mere citizen and a reporter and qualify for the protections afforded both depending on the situation.

  18. We can’t both trust the press and the police that supports it can we? Leering is disgusting no matter at children or at the mayor.

    • Had I known anything about the “shackled” mayor Rob Ford. I would not be bothered to listen to his bluster… but when he responded to an allegation about his wanting filatio with an office staffer ( not sure ) He responds, with his wife beside him, he gets more than enough… Sorry the guy is a ticking.

  19. Kinda unrelated, but does anyone find it odd that Bryant gets a plum gig from the Libs after admitting he was a drunken cab min and actually killed someone while serving, yet Rob Ford must be nailed to a cross? Funny that.
    As an aside, I am no Ford fanboy and live in BC. Just struck me as odd is all.
    Ontario politics is almost as bad as ours in BC. Thank goodness that Christy Clark hasn’t made a sex tape…that we know of. heh

  20. To reply to the original concern, if someone made a cinderblock perch to peer into my yard and I caught him, he would have suffered worse than Dale.

    • 1)It has not been established that a ‘cinderblock perch’ ever existed, (In fact, such has been thorough;y refuted). 2) Even if one had been made, who made it? 3)You are assuming the purpose of said imaginary contrivance. 4) You seem to be suggesting Dale ‘suffered’ something. Care to elaborate? 5) Quit while you’re behind.

    • why people like to puff themselves by talking about how they would do stuff that amounts to criminal conduct (internet tough guying or IRL) will always seem silly to me.

      Public Service Announcement time – If you see someone near your property doing what Ford claims Dale did, and it upsets your delicate sensibilities to the point you feel uncomfortable, call the police. They’re trained to deal with this kind of thing. If you go around thinking that you’re going to make the person “suffer” you’re either going to go too far and get yourself punished, or you’re getting yourself into something you can’t handle.

  21. It is interesting that the media response I have heard on this topic (most notably comments made by “Ritalin” on CBC FM on my drive home Dec 12th) trumpet the integrity, high mindedness and ethical code of the media. Meanwhile, I have just spent a year as a volunteer that required me responding to many requests for interviews by the media. Nothing earth-shattering or controversial but I did note that most times the reporter quoted my comments out of context and ignored and facts that weren’t in line with their preconceived impressions of the issue they were covering. The media fulfills an important and critical role in any free society – but it is a stretch to put them on anything but a mediocre level. So my question is “who presses the press”?

  22. Sure he can sue, but with his Employer footing the bill it just drops it down to that nasty playing field.

  23. Ford acts (like a typical “trust fund” baby” threatening to sue anyone who dares exposes things he has done. The day he said he was suing his ex-colleagues and some poor guy working at an Esplanade restaurant (who says he saw Ford and a lady friend appearing to snort something for their wrist) well gee – what happened to that lawsuit. Bet a dollar to a donut he doesn’t sue. The man is all bluster as he said that day outside he office “I told you GUYS WATCH WHAT YOU SAY” blah, blah, blah. and then says he suing. Ford in a pathological liar and has been caught in so many it just boggles the mind. Remember his drunk driving/dope possession – didn’t happen. The drunken rant at a Leaf game to spectators – didn’t happen. The video (that didn’t exist) and the crack cocaine claim – didn’t happen. The list is long. Good for Dale for suing these clowns. First Dales “is on his property”. Next thing Doug says “even if he was behind the fence he should have been” (public property?). These guys are like Harper with the senate scandal. Harper told so many lies he couldn’t remember the last one. Same with the Ford boys. Think that money buys them the right to be “entitled to their entitlements” and there need not be any accountability or responsibility taken. An “elite” masquerading as a “man of the people” to the unwashed masses. The Fords are not laughing WITH the Ford Nation, they’re laughing AT them. It’s about time someone stood up to these two bullies who think they’re above the law.

  24. This article attaches the right question to the wrong story. The interesting case is not this one, where Ford was being Ford, firing a six-shooter from all six of his wobbling hips, but the one from a few weeks before, where the newspapers reported a hostile witness’s suspicion that a woman seen in Ford’s company was “a prostitute.” Ford threatened to sue, but the case did not go anywhere since the suspicion had been voiced to the police and was therefore protected speech–even though it was headline news the next day. It does seem to me that this is rough justice for Ford, and still more unfair to the woman in his company (if she was not a sex worker, as Ford insisted). I am no fan of Ford, but he should have recourse in a case like this, and the woman even more so. A newspaper should be accountable if it prints unsubstantiated rumours of this kind.

  25. Where the hell was Daniel Dale when Idle No More was happening?

    • Doing his job which is the city hall beat.

  26. News Flash! No one gives a sh1t about reporters…they come, they go. But they should definitely be spied upon just like Rob Ford.

    • News Flash! No one cares what a troll thinks.

  27. The way the media has slandered Rob Ford based on slanderous allegations of the police chief, speaks volumes. Are reporters that stupid that they haven’t figured out that the police are immune to slander lawsuits. How come nothing is said about that?

    • The way Rob Ford has slandered the media based on slanderous allegations of the mayor, speaks volumes. Are elected officials that stupid that they haven’t figured out that they are immune to slander lawsuits. How come nothing is said about that? There, fixed.

      • Since Rob Ford is an elected official and Daniel Dale filed a libel lawsuit against him, I guess you’re wrong about that.

        • Since the mayor and Vision TV are litigants who are involved in the broadcast of a defamatory statement about a reporter, a notice of libel was served with a six week-period to “retract and apologize” or the litigants will face a civil trial. All participants will be under oath and the sentence will include all court costs and any judgment that is rendered.

          • My earlier comment should have been phrased as: “The way Rob Ford has slandered the media based on slanderous allegations of the mayor, speaks volumes. Are elected officials that stupid that they haven’t figured out that they are not immune to slander lawsuits. How come nothing is said about that? There, fixed.”

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