September 25, 2019
Rook v Halcrow 2019 BCSC 2253
The plaintiff, Mr. Rook, claimed damages for defamatory posts he alleged were posted by the defendant, Ms. Halcrow, on various websites.
Ms. Halcrow did not give evidence. Her defence was that she was not responsible for the postings. Rather, she largely blamed her friends or others for them.
As I will elaborate, I do not accept this and find that she mounted a campaign against Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive. I also conclude that she was motivated by malice.
The parties began dating in August 2015. Mr. Rook ended the relationship in August 2015. In February 2016 they began dating again and in July 2016 Mr. Rook again ended the relationship. The posts began being put up on August 6, 2016.
The evidence is clear and compelling that Ms. Halcrow did, in fact, put the posts on the web sites.
First, there is the expert of evidence of Ryan Purita. He analysed Ms. Halcrow’s emails to Mr. Rook and determined that they were sent from a specific IP address. This IP address was used to set up the accounts on Instagram that the posts were done on.
While Ms. Halcrow says that others could have used her WiFi when in her house, she gave no evidence to that effect and the explanation in view of the other evidence is not credible.
Turning to the case at bar, Ms. Halcrow mounted a campaign against the Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive. As I said, she was motivated by malice. The timing of the postings was tied to the relationship break-up, its recommencement and its second break-up.
In my view, an appropriate award of general damages is $175,000 general damages and $25,000 aggravated damages. The plaintiff has not claimed punitive damages.
Turning to special damage, Mr. Rook engaged the services of reputation consultants to assist in having the postings removed. He spent US $29,870.00 as is entitled to recover that from Ms. Halcrow.
Mr. Rook is also entitled to his costs.
Mr. Rook is also entitled to an injunction. Ms. Halcrow, and other persons with knowledge of the order, wherever they are located in the world, are restrained from publishing any of the comments contained in the schedule attached to this judgment.