Friday, March 28

Dr Dawg's Blawg trial: Please someone tell me Marc Lemire is making the whole thing up

I've just discovered from an email sent last night that Canada's Marc Lemire has been live-blogging something called "the pseudonymous [blogosphere] defamation trial of 'Dr Dawg' vs 'Peter O’Donnell' " in Ottawa.  Yesterday was Day 4 of the trial, "and what an exciting day it was" as he observed.

Now there are three possibilities here.

1) Marc was finally driven insane by the Canadian Human Rights Commission persecution of him and now believes himself the reincarnation of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

2) Marc is actually the reincarnation of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

The third possibility, which is that he's giving a straightforward summary of an actual trial, is frankly too
horrible to contemplate at any length.  As evidence, this passage from the summary (text links omitted here):
Most of the day was taken up by [attorney] Barbara Kulaszka [reading for the court] various blog posts and comments to “Dr Dawg”, but when she read out a posting on the Dawg's Blawg written by a poster named “Peter 1”, Dr Dawg's lawyer seemed to grow increasingly agitated.

In an odd Perry Mason-like moment – but in reverse – lawyer Peter Burnet jumped to his feet and blurted out to the court (paraphrasing) “counsel knows that Peter 1 is me and is introducing this to play games”.

The judge seemed a bit taken a back by this. Kulaszka responded that she had no intention of asking who Peter 1 was and “resents the implication that Mr. Burnet is making”.

There was a long moment of absolute silence in the court, then Kulaszka moved on and left it in the air about Peter 1 being Dr Dawg's own lawyer Peter Burnet, who is a frequent commenter on Dawgs Blawg.

It is ironic that Peter Burnet would 'out' himself as the frequent commenter Peter 1. Interestingly, the posts by Peter 1 were not necessarily always supportive of the perspectives that Dr Dawg took, and in fact they seemed to argue at times over political perspectives.
But as a general observation regarding defamation on the blogosphere, I think Marc is right. This looks like the next battlespace for Canadians who value freedom of speech.

 The bar is set very high in the USA for defamation suits; those who've tried to use the British courts to muzzle American authors have always been beaten back by our judicial system. Yet Edward Snowden's revelations have been a sharp reminder that defending freedom is a never-ending process not a goal.
As to Canada, those who wanted to keep Section 13 on the law books, including the CHRC,  have in their view suffered a setback, not a defeat, when the law was stricken by a parliamentary vote. From Marc's summary of strange events unfolding in an Ottawa courtroom it does seem that while they're regrouping those defenders or Section 13 are busy at the back door with defamation suits.  Americans take note.

"The trial continues tomorrow [today] at 9:30am in the Ottawa courthouse.  The cross-examination by Barbara Kulaszka of Dr Dawg continues."

See Marc's post for how to access his ongoing live-blogging of the trial if it actually exists.


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