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Canadian Internet Defamation Rulings
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2021 August 25
Petersen v. Deck, 2021 BCSC 1670

The British Columbia Supreme Court, granting judgment following a summary trial, awarded the plaintiff plastic surgeon $30,000 general damages over a defamatory statement posted by a patient on her personal website and on Google Reviews.  With respect to the liability defences, the Court concluded:  “ While internet postings in the nature of “reviews” of restaurants and services are the norm in today’s world, defamatory comments dressed up as “reviews” that are not factual or do not qualify as fair comment are subject to the laws of defamation.”  “ In my view, a reasonable person knowing the proven background facts … could not honestly express the opinions set out in the Posts. Moreover, the Posts contain defamatory statements of fact that cannot be justified.”