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Mainstream Canada Appeals Defamation Ruling

Salmonids Post-harvest Politics +2 more

CANADA - Mainstream Canada has announced it has filed an appeal of a Supreme Court of BC decision in its defamation claim against anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford.

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The trial, which ran from 16 January to 10 February 2012, was responding to a prolonged, malicious, and unfounded attack on Mainstream Canada and its employees.

Based on the evidence at trial, the Judge concluded that Mainstream was a responsible corporate citizen: "They are conscious of the need to operate the business in a manner consistent with producing a product that is safe to consume and contributes to a healthy and nutritious diet."

The judge found that the activist's comments were defamatory and actuated by express malice toward Mainstream. She described the language in his publications as "extreme, inflammatory, sensationalized, extravagant and violent." However, she accepted the defendant's fair comment defense.

Mainstream's lawyer David Wotherspoon said: "We are pleased that the judge acknowledged the good work by Mainstream and that she found that the activist's comments were defamatory. While it is disappointing that she ruled against us on a technical legal issue, we will pursue this vigorously in the court of appeal."

Mainstream believes this decision, if left to stand without an appeal, has the potential to compromise healthy public debate on matters of public policy. While such debate should be encouraged, it should be based on fact, and critics should be held accountable for their public commentary.

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