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Province Funded Dr Smith's Lawsuit
June 6, 2008 permalink
Harold Levy has been looking into the funding for a libel lawsuit by pathologist Dr Charles Smith against the CBC. He now has enough material to be sure that Dr Smith's legal bill was paid by the province of Ontario, though Levy is still digging for more information about the matter. Below is a letter by Harold Levy posted to his own blog.
I have received a response to this Blog's application for records relating government funding of Dr. Charles Smith's lawsuit against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The government has provided me with three records;
The first record (two pages) is described as, "legal services invoice."
The second record (one page) is described as, "a printout of payment data."
The invoice - on the letterhead of Gowling, Lafleur, Henderson LLP, is for a total of $7,880.20;
An apparently hand-written signature "J. Young M.D." is located at the bottom of the invoice.
A similar apparently hand-written note is located at the top of the invoice , says, "pay Dr. C. Smith," and has an arrow pointing towards his name and address.
The third record bears the heading: "GEAC Financial System Payment Data."
Here is some of the information in contains:
Name: Chief Coroner's Office;
Account: Legal Services Other;
Vendor Name; Dr. Charles Smith;
Run Date: 11/3/2001;
The access coordinator's letter indicates that "solicitor client privilege has been waived" in relation to the first three records.
It goes on to say, however, that:
"Pages 4 to 7 are records that contain information reflecting confidential privileged communications. Access to these records is denied in accordance with the discretionary exemption from disclosure contained in section 19 of the Act for records that are subject to solicitor-client privilege or prepared by or for Crown counsel for use in giving legal advice or in contemplation of or for use in litigation."
Please be advised, dear readers, that I intend to pursue this matter by way of an appeal.
True, this would appear to conclusively establish that public funds were paid to Dr. Smith's lawyers to enable them to sue the CBC for libel in connection with the Fifth Estate Documentary.
(I personally find this to be outrageous and invite our reader's views);
However, I want to see the remaining documents to determine what, if any consideration was given to the constitutional propriety of using tax-payer's funds to to back a law-suit which could have the effect of chilling public discussion of Dr. Smith's work;
Any suggestions from our readers as grounds to be included in the appeal would be greatly appreciated.
Source: Harold Levy blog entry for June 5, 2008