OTTAWA – Canada’s top court is scheduled to hear a case today involving a teenage Nova Scotia girl who was allegedly defamed on a bogus Facebook page.
The young woman and her family are appealing a lower court’s ruling that said she couldn’t proceed with her defamation case without revealing her name.
The Supreme Court of Canada granted the young woman and her family leave to appeal the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision.
Halifax lawyer Michelle Awad has argued the media should not be allowed to identify the young woman because it would cause further harm.
But Nova Scotia’s top court has said that is the reality of pursuing litigation in Canadian courts, where the open-court principle is enshrined in law.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says it will argue that in defamation cases, the public needs to know what speech is being held to be defamatory in order to understand and assess what constitutes defamatory speech, and what limits the courts have placed on freedom of expression in order to protect reputation.
“A publication ban over the contents of the fake 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 courts in deciding whether certain speech is defamatory,” the group argues in its submission to the court.