CANADA - Activist claims against Mainstream Canada found to be defamatory, malicious - but fair comment

Staniford's claims against Mainstream found to be defamatory, malicious - but judge rules he should succeed on his defense of fair comment because he believed in what he said
October 4, 2012

A decision was delivered September 28, 2012, in the defamation trial brought by Mainstream Canada against an anti-salmon farm activist.

The trial, which began on Jan 16, 2012 and concluded on February 10, 2012, in the Supreme Court of BC, was initiated by Mainstream in response to a prolonged and malicious attack on the reputation of the company and its employees.

"Although I have concluded that Mr. Staniford's statements are defamatory of Mainstream, I have concluded that he should succeed on his defence of fair comment," said Madam Justice Adair in her reasons for judgment. "I have found that he was actuated by express malice towards Mainstream. However, I have found that he had an honest belief in the statements he made, and injuring Mainstream because of spite or animosity was not his dominant purpose in publishing the words in issue."

Mainstream Canada is currently reviewing the ruling and considering its full implications.

"Mainstream is disappointed with the decision of the court. The judge ruled that the activist's statements were defamatory and malicious and not based on fact, but because he truly believed them, our claim was dismissed," said Laurie Jensen, Mainstream Canada's Communications and Corporate Sustainability Manager. "We believe that people who say defamatory and malicious things should be held accountable. We took this action to protect our employees and the company from further malicious attacks, and despite this decision we believe this was the right thing to do."

Download and read the full judgment  (PDF)

See related article:

Mainstream Canada begins legal proceedings against Mr. Don Staniford