British Columbia court says mayor must pay $75,000 for defamation

Court says mayor must pay $75,000 for defamation

CRANBROOK, B.C. — A B.C. Supreme Court has ordered the mayor of Invermere, who is also an NDP candidate in the provincial election, to pay $75,000 in a defamation lawsuit.

Justice Gary Weatherill ruled Gerry Taft defamed Devin Kazakoff when he called him a convicted felon who had extreme positions on animal rights issues on a website based in Cranbrook, B.C.

The judgment says Kazakoff was opposed to the deer cull in the area and in 2014 destroyed two deer traps, which it says he pleaded guilty to in court and was later given an absolute discharge, meaning he didn’t have a criminal record.

The judge ordered Taft pay the man $50,000 in general damages and $25,000 for aggravated damages in restoration.

Weatherill also said no apology, retraction or withdrawal can ever be guaranteed to completely undo the harm the defamation had done.

The decision says Taft apologized at the end of the trial for his choice of words and the pain and suffering he caused to Kazakoff and his reputation.

In a statement, Taft said he was disappointed by the decision, disagreed with much of it and is consulting his lawyer about filing an appeal.

The Canadian Press