This case involves a teenager who is pursuing an action in defamation based on a fake Facebook profile. She asked to proceed with the claim through the use of a pseudonym so as to conceal her identity and with the imposition of a publication ban over the contents of the Facebook profile. At issue is the balance between an individual’s claim of privacy in a civil suit for defamation against freedom of expression and the open courts principle.
The BCCLA is an intervener in this case. The BCCLA argues that a publication ban over the contents of the fake Facebook profile would constitute a serious incursion on freedom of speech and the open courts principle by depriving the courts and the public of the ability to understand or question the balance being struck by the courts in deciding whether certain speech is defamatory. The BCCLA also argues that a publication ban would deprive the public of the right to understand and assess the balance between the public interest and the rights and interests of an individual who posts content online anonymously. The BCCLA submits that to the extent that A.B. may be harmed by publication of her identity, the appropriate relief would be an order allowing her to proceed with her claim anonymously, and a publication ban only over the portions of the fake Facebook profile that would identify her.
The BCCLA is represented by Chris Sanderson, Q.C., Marko Vesely and Toby Kruger of Lawson Lundell LLP.
Supreme Court of Canada