Monday, February 08, 2010

Ezra Backdates

The amazing Buckets has now confirmed Ezra Levant's back-dating of a post that may well prove important to the defamation case being brought against him by CHRC lawyer Giacomo Vigna. Put crudely, Vigna has sued Levant for suggesting that he (Vigna) faked an illness to get out of a CHRT (Canadian Human Rights Tribunal) hearing; in his "Correction" , Levant admits that Vigna was indeed able to secure a doctor's note for whatever ailed him, AND that he turned said note over to the tribunal. All of which Levant had asserted previously was NOT THE CASE.

In the comments to a previous post, lawyer Ted Betts speculated as to why Levant's correction might have been issued in the first place:

By back-dating a post, it does not appear in the blog aggregator, exposing it to the eyes of so many more people. Try it with Liblogs or Progressive Bloggers.

A defamation claim is about harm to one's reputation because of the publication of falsehoods. In a defamation suit, therefore an apology is important for two reasons.

First, if you lose, you can claim the penalty should be less since the harm caused to the plaintiff's reputation was eliminated or at least lessened by a retraction or apology in the same publication. i.e. anyone who saw the first falsehood would have seen the retraction and therefore the reputation was unharmed.

Second - and this is fairly new law - it is an important defence to show that, even if the facts you relayed were false, you were not acting maliciously but based on what you thought was true and the moment you found out your information was incorrect, you apologized or retracted. In fact, the failure to apologize, clarify or retract a known falsehood when given the chance can be taken against you.

Which makes the back-dating even more interesting since, by back-dating it and minimizing the number of people who see it, it defeats the purpose of publishing it in the first place.

And this comes out a day before the case is due to start! Damn that's raw!

13 comments:

Backseat Blogger said...

some very intersting on point commentary there by Mr. Betts.

and doubly so since it appears that the 'correction' post was indeed backdated.

my question is one of timing. had his serenity in fact supplied to the requested doctor's note at the time Mr. Levant wrote his posts.

in this 'correction' Mr. Levant says that the doctor's note wasn't given in til some four months after the hearings in question.

would this make a difference in the lawsuit?

bigcitylib said...

The note was provided on June 2007 (according to the Ez, not the most reliable of sources). The posts on Vigna start in 2008, and indeed Ezra's blog started in Dec 2007. So yes. I have no idea how that would effect the lawsuit. Can't think it would look good on Levant, though.

Walker Morrow said...

I would imagine it depends on when Vigna sued him, wouldn't it?

If he sued Ezra prior to sending in his doctor's note, then I don't see how this changes anything. If he sued Ezra after sending in his doctor's note, then that's a whole different story.

I haven't kept up on the Vigna case very much, as I've always thought it to be a relatively peripheral issue. But the case seems to be going ahead tomorrow, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out...

Ti-Guy said...

Why doesn't BB ask his Boggin' Toree pal Ezra to clarify the details of this issue?

The note was provided on June 2007 (according to the Ez, not the most reliable of sources).

In fact, I can't even believe you bothered to calculate a date based on an undocumented assertion that Ezra provided as to when Vigna submitted the physician's certificate.

You're too charitable with these fools, BCL.

Ti-Guy said...

If he sued Ezra after sending in his doctor's note, then that's a whole different story.

I don't think the libel suit is limited to just this point of fact. But then, I never read any of those statements of claim, so I'm not really the one to know.

I just want the verdict. And the headline: "Ezra Levant, sued into penury after years of serial defamation, found dead. Police suspect suicide."

Timothy Friesen said...

Something stinks about this. Why would Ezra delete the comments from the blog post once it had been publicized that there was a possibility that he had done this.

I've tried looking at the Google cache to find the comments with no luck.

And the part of me that likes to see hypocrisy in people wonders why he didn't think about Kairos before either doing the original backdated post or purging the comments from the original post.

Backseat Blogger said...

"I just want the verdict. And the headline: "Ezra Levant, sued into penury after years of serial defamation, found dead. Police suspect suicide."

ti-guy: wishing someone dead (with a newborn baby at that). classy as always, i see, ti-guy.

Ti-Guy said...

ti-guy: wishing someone dead (with a newborn baby at that). classy as always, i see, ti-guy.

Ezra always seems to have a newborn baby. Are they surplus to the ones he cultivates in vitro as a substitute for the jumbo shrimp?

Go to the post below and read my comment about the podcast in The National Post, in which Ezra not only wants Omar Khadr summarily executed, but also slanders Maher Arar as a terrorist.

If you care about the welfare of all those l'il Ezra Jr's, you might want to have talk with his father about just what legacy he's leaving the children, all over the Internet.

Otherwise, spare me your sanctimony.

bigcitylib said...

Unless Ezra is renting out new borns, the last kid is about a year old now, as I remember.

Gene Rayburn said...

maybe anyone under 30 is a newborn to BB

Backseat Blogger said...

@Ti-Guy: don't change the subject. i was writing about YOUR wishing someone dead... not about Mr. Levant.

@Gene Rayburn
"maybe anyone under 30 is a newborn to BB"

rofl. not quite yet. but anyone under 20 is definitely barely out of diapers in my opinion ;)

Ti-Guy said...

I'm pretty sure the 20 to 30 year-olds BB knows are wearing diapers...

sharonapple88 said...

@Ti-Guy: don't change the subject. i was writing about YOUR wishing someone dead... not about Mr. Levant.

To be honest, Ti's comment does put the wish in context. Levant's not an innocent little lamb, some paper flower trembling at any hint of the rain -- he's pretty free with the bile.