October 17, 2019
Codina v The CBC 2019 ONSC 6019
Angelina Codina brought a defamation action claiming damages of $150,000,000 from the CBC, CBC News, CBC Radio; ICI Radio-Canada and the CBC reporters, Michelle Cheung, Leva Lucs and Jean-Phillipe Nadeau. Ms. Codina claimed damages for defamation with respect to several news articles and broadcasts which were published by the CBC between May 2014 and February 2018.
The news articles and broadcasts reported on charges of fraud and breaches of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 brought against Ms. Codina in May 2014, and the progress of those charges in the justice system to her conviction and sentencing. The articles also report on civil proceedings which had been brought against Ms.Codina in the Small Claims Court.
Justice Chalmers concluded:
Ms. Codina failed to establish that the harm to her was “sufficiently serious” that the public interest in this action continuing outweighs the public interest in protecting the Defendants’ expression. The Plaintiffs damages, if any, are inconsequential and cannot outweigh the public interest of protecting freedom of the press.
I conclude that the Plaintiff has not satisfied the Public Interest Hurdle. The litigation is of “doubtful merit” that seeks to restrict expression on matters of public interest and therefore must be dismissed.