Yet another friendly reminder from your local lawyer to be mindful that every text, e-mail and social media post you transmit, or post may end up as evidence against you in Court.
A recent B.C. case affirms the Court’s increasing willingness to award damages for online attacks, recognizing them as having the same impact as traditional means of communication, if not being more pervasive and insidious.
In this case, a spouse, as a result of a relationship breakdown, engaged in a relentless, vitriolic online campaign against her former spouse, to the extent that the target spouse sued for damages for defamation.
While the case is in B.C., the general principles affirmed by the Court would apply to Ontario, too.
The posting spouse made more than eighty-five offending posts, all of which were listed in chronology in an appendix filed in the case (nearly fifty pages).
The posts were made on various sites, including Instagram, using a number of pseudonym accounts and names (which were traced back to the posting spouse).
The B.C. Court held (with respect to the posting spouse):
“Ms. Halcrow mounted a campaign against Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive…….The courts have recognized that the internet can be used as an exceedingly effective tool to harm reputations. This is one such case.”
The Court ordered the posting spouse to pay the target spouse $200,000 in general damages and approximately $40,000 in special damages due to the injury to the former partner’s “reputation consultant” fees.
Rook v. Halcrow, 2019 BCSC 2253