February 18, 2019
Guimont et al c Bussieres et al 2019 QCCA 200-09-009573-178
Roch Guimont and his mother, Constance, argued the newspapers, Le Soleil and La Presse, and websites, violated their basic human rights by publishing an article in March 2012 about a court ruling rejecting Guimont’s $1-million lawsuit against the City of Quebec and its police services for sending a SWAT team to his house. The judge found the city was justified in its actions.
Guimont said he came across that article on the website in June 2016, then, in December 2016, filed his $500,000 lawsuit. In the lower court ruling, the Superior Court judge ruled against Guimont on the grounds that under the Quebec Press Act, “any person who deems himself injured by an article published in a newspaper must institute his action” within three months of the publication of the article, or three months of having read the article, as long as it is within a year of the publication of the article in the latter case.
Guimont appealed that ruling, arguing that the reading of the Press Act was incorrect.
The Appeal Court judges rejected his appeal on the basis news publications are within their rights under common law to report on court judgments or proceedings without fear of reprisals, as long as they do so accurately.
However, the judges went on to rule on whether the Quebec Press Act pertains to an article published on a website by a news organization. Because the Press Act, as written in 1929, does not include provisions for changes brought on by new technologies, and because the act refers specifically to newspapers, the judges ruled that it does not.