Ludlow et al. v. Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98

JudgeBerger,Macleod,Veldhuis
Neutral Citation2015 ABCA 98
Citation2015 ABCA 98,(2015), 599 A.R. 288,599 AR 288,(2015), 599 AR 288,599 A.R. 288
Date13 February 2015
CourtCourt of Appeal (Alberta)

Ludlow v. Hansen (2015), 599 A.R. 288; 643 W.A.C. 288 (CA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2015] A.R. TBEd. MR.111

Stephen Ludlow, Tammy Tessier, Kent McDiarmid, Joel DeGroot and Kristen Ryan (respondents/plaintiffs) v. Steve Hansen and Stephanie Hansen (appellants/defendants)

(1401-0090-AC; 2015 ABCA 98)

Indexed As: Ludlow et al. v. Hansen

Alberta Court of Appeal

Berger and Veldhuis, JJ.A., and Macleod, J.(ad hoc)

March 12, 2015.

Summary:

The appellants, Steve and Stephanie Hansen, posted a video in which Mr. Hansen talked about his various encounters with the respondents, who were members of the RCMP. That video was removed as a result of a complaint. A second video was posted, which was reposted on www.youtube.com. The respondents thought that the videos were defamatory. They sued the appellants and were granted summary judgment. The chambers judge enjoined the appellants from defaming the respondents and awarded the respondents general and aggravated damages. The appellants appealed.

The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Evidence - Topic 1581

Hearsay rule - Exceptions - Business records - Regular entries - Exceptions to admission - Record made in course of an investigation or inquiry - The appellants brought formal complaints regarding the conduct of the respondent RCMP members pursuant to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act - An investigation was conducted - The complaints were dismissed - The respondents thought that videos subsequently posted by the appellants were defamatory of them - They sued the appellants and were granted summary judgment - The appellants appealed - The appellants submitted that the reports flowing from the investigation or inquiry conducted pursuant to the RCMP Act should have been ruled inadmissible by the chambers judge - They relied on s. 30(10)(a)(i) of the Canada Evidence Act, which rendered inadmissible in evidence in any legal proceeding, any part of any record made in the course of an investigation or inquiry - The Alberta Court of Appeal held the issue was moot - The chambers judge's judgment placed little or no reliance on the content of the reports - While the judge made cursory or passing mention of the reports, she did so in the search for evidence of the asserted truth of the appellant's allegations of misconduct by the respondents - If the application for summary judgment had proceeded without the reports and in reliance on the obvious acknowledgement by both parties that complaints had been made and that investigations followed, the outcome in the court below would have been the same - See paragraphs 16 to 18.

Libel and Slander - Topic 644

The statement - What constitutes defamatory statements - General principles - Disparagement of reputation - [See Libel and Slander - Topic 3107 ].

Libel and Slander - Topic 2864

Defences - Justification or truth - Evidence and proof - [See Libel and Slander - Topic 3107 ].

Libel and Slander - Topic 3107

Defences - Fair comment - Elements of fair comment - Honest expression of opinion - The appellants, Steve and Stephanie Hansen, posted a video in which Mr. Hansen talked about his various encounters with the respondents, who were members of the RCMP - That video was removed as a result of a complaint - A second video was posted, which was reposted on www.youtube.com - The videos alleged perjury, falsification of statements and reports, and uttering threats and assaulting minors - Other allegations in the videos and/or accompanying text alleged, inter alia, illegal search, fabrication, peeping in windows and disturbing the peace - The respondents sued the appellants for defamation and were granted summary judgment - The appellants appealed - They argued that the chambers judge erred in finding that the videos and text were defamatory of the respondents - Further, if the videos and/or text were defamatory, the chambers judge erred in finding that the defences of fair comment and justification were not available to the appellants - The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - The tripartite test in an action for defamation was met on the record - The onus on the appellants to prove justification on a balance of probabilities was not made out - Substantial truth on this record was wanting - The defence of fair comment was also not available - The videos and text were comments not based on fact and for which there was no proof - It followed that no person could honestly express the impugned comments - See paragraphs 9 to 15.

Cases Noticed:

Grant et al. v. Torstar Corp. et al., [2009] 3 S.C.R. 640; 397 N.R. 1; 258 O.A.C. 285; 2009 SCC 61, refd to. [para. 9].

Cherneskey v. Armdale Publishers Ltd. and King, [1979] 1 S.C.R. 1067; 24 N.R. 271, refd to. [para. 13].

Simpson v. Mair et al., [2008] 2 S.C.R. 420; 376 N.R. 80; 256 B.C.A.C. 1; 431 W.A.C. 1; 2008 SCC 40, refd to. [para. 14].

WIC Radio Ltd. v. Simpson - see Simpson v. Mair et al.

Statutes Noticed:

Canada Evidence Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-5, sect. 30(10)(a)(i) [para. 16].

Defamation Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. D-7, sect. 12, sect. 13(1)(2) [para. 19].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Duncan and Neill on Defamation (1978), p. 62, para. 12.02 [para. 13].

Counsel:

D.R. Beeman and J. Sutherland, for the respondents;

J.C. Anderson, for the appellants.

This appeal was heard on February 13, 2015, before Berger and Veldhuis, JJ.A., and Macleod, J.(ad hoc), of the Alberta Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal delivered the following memorandum of judgment on March 12, 2015.

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5 practice notes
  • Kang v MB, 2019 ABQB 246
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • April 5, 2019
    ...ii) referred to the Plaintiff; and iii) were published to a third person: Grant v Torstar Corp, 2009 SCC 61 at para 2; Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 10. The material facts that must be included to make out an action for defamation are: i) the defamatory statement; ii) the time, plac......
  • Cicalese v Saipem Canada Inc, 2018 ABQB 835
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • October 4, 2018
    ...shifts to the defendants to establish an applicable defence”: Simpson v Mair, 2008 SCC 40 at para 1 [Simpson]; see also Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 10 [Ludlow]; Grant v Torstar Corp, 2009 SCC 61 at para 29 ii. Test for defamation [226] The Supreme Court of Canada has outlined the ......
  • Alberta Computers.com Inc v Thibert, 2019 ABQB 964
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • December 16, 2019
    ...If these required elements are proven on a balance of probabilities, “falsity and damage are presumed”: Grant at para 28; Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 10. The onus then shifts to Mr. Pope and Alberta Computers to advance a defence in order to escape liability: Grant at para (b) App......
  • Huff v Zuk, 2019 ABQB 691
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • September 6, 2019
    ...is true. Justification is a complete defence to an action in defamation - a statement that is true cannot be defamatory: Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 11. To make out the defence, the defendant must establish that the whole of the defamatory matter is substantially true. As noted by......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Kang v MB, 2019 ABQB 246
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • April 5, 2019
    ...ii) referred to the Plaintiff; and iii) were published to a third person: Grant v Torstar Corp, 2009 SCC 61 at para 2; Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 10. The material facts that must be included to make out an action for defamation are: i) the defamatory statement; ii) the time, plac......
  • Cicalese v Saipem Canada Inc, 2018 ABQB 835
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • October 4, 2018
    ...shifts to the defendants to establish an applicable defence”: Simpson v Mair, 2008 SCC 40 at para 1 [Simpson]; see also Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 10 [Ludlow]; Grant v Torstar Corp, 2009 SCC 61 at para 29 ii. Test for defamation [226] The Supreme Court of Canada has outlined the ......
  • Alberta Computers.com Inc v Thibert, 2019 ABQB 964
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • December 16, 2019
    ...If these required elements are proven on a balance of probabilities, “falsity and damage are presumed”: Grant at para 28; Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 10. The onus then shifts to Mr. Pope and Alberta Computers to advance a defence in order to escape liability: Grant at para (b) App......
  • Huff v Zuk, 2019 ABQB 691
    • Canada
    • Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada)
    • September 6, 2019
    ...is true. Justification is a complete defence to an action in defamation - a statement that is true cannot be defamatory: Ludlow v Hansen, 2015 ABCA 98 at para 11. To make out the defence, the defendant must establish that the whole of the defamatory matter is substantially true. As noted by......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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