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Canadian Internet Defamation Rulings
This case is filed under Substantive Defences
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2006 November 28
Hemming v. Newton, 2006 BCSC 1748

The British Columbia Supreme Court struck out a defence that an allegedly defamatory posting and an allegedly defamatory article on a website “consist of protected expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 2(b) and to the extent the traditional common law of defamation would impose liability on the defendant for the posting, the law is to that extent of no force or effect.” In dismissing this defence, the Court relied on an earlier decision of the BC Court of Appeal in Moises v Canadian Newspaper Co. (c.o.b. Times-Colonist) (1996), 24 B.C.L.R. (3d) 211, where that court reviewed the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Hill v Church of Scientology of Toronto, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1120, and stated: “What emerges from the foregoing authorities is a justified unwillingness to hold that the common law of defamation is inconsistent with Charter values. Freedom of expression is of fundamental importance in Canada, but so is the dignity of the individual and his or her right to protect and preserve a good reputation.” The Court held that it was plain and obvious that the Charter defence was bound to fail.