MacDonald v. Poirier, (1991) 120 N.B.R.(2d) 18 (TD)

Judge:Russell, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick
Case Date:October 01, 1991
Jurisdiction:New Brunswick
Citations:(1991), 120 N.B.R.(2d) 18 (TD)
 
FREE EXCERPT

MacDonald v. Poirier (1991), 120 N.B.R.(2d) 18 (TD);

    120 R.N.-B.(2e) 18; 302 A.P.R. 18

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Ida Doucette MacDonald (plaintiff) v. Lionel Joseph Poirier

(defendant)

Indexed As: MacDonald v. Poirier

New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench

Trial Division

Judicial District of Fredericton

Russell, J.

October 15, 1991.

Summary:

The defendant told the R.C.M.P. that the plaintiff, a secretary, had stolen uniform traffic tickets and money from her employer, the New Brunswick Highway Patrol. The defendant was the former Chief of the High­way Patrol. The R.C.M.P. determined that the claim was without substance but con­tinued the investigation toward a mischief charge against the defendant. The plaintiff sued for defamation. At the trial, the defen­dant submitted that the statements were protected by qualified privilege and that there was no malice.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, found for the plaintiff.

Damage Awards - Topic 632

Torts - Injury to the person - Libel and slander - Defamation - Poirier was a former chief of the New Brunswick High­way Patrol - After resigning in 1986, Poirier was informed that some tickets were missing from one of the force's de­tachments - In 1988, Poirier brought the matter to the attention of the province's solicitor general and the R.C.M.P. - How­ever, at that point Poirier accused MacDonald, a secretary and the wife of a Crown prosecutor, of the theft of between 100 and 200 uniform traffic tickets and as much as $5,000 in fines from the tickets - The R.C.M.P. determined that the charges were without merit - MacDonald sued Poirier for defamation - The New Bruns­wick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Divi­sion, held that the statements were defam­atory and awarded MacDonald $15,000 in damages - See paragraphs 45 and 59.

Libel and Slander - Topic 745

The statement - What constitutes defama­tory statements - Slander - Statements which are slanderous - [See Damage Awards - Topic 632 ].

Libel and Slander - Topic 2988

Defences - Qualified privilege - Loss of -Lack of honest belief - In 1986, Rochon told Poirier (a former chief of the New Brunswick Highway Patrol) that some tickets were missing at the Campbellton detachment - In 1988, despite the absence of further information, Poirier told the R.C.M.P. that uniform traffic tickets and money were missing and that he suspected MacDonald (a secretary) - The R.C.M.P. established that no theft had occurred - MacDonald sued Poirier for defamation - Poirier pleaded qualified privilege - The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, rejected the defence of qualified privilege because Poirier was not acting in good faith when he accused MacDonald - See paragraph 48.

Libel and Slander - Topic 2988

Defences - Qualified privilege - Loss of -Lack of belief or existence of malice - In 1986, Rochon told Poirier (a former chief of the New Brunswick Highway Patrol) that some tickets were missing at the Campbellton detachment - On June 3, 1988, Poirier told the R.C.M.P. that uni­form traffic tickets and money were miss­ing and that he suspected MacDonald (a secretary) - On June 6, 1988, Rochon told Poirier that he meant 24 hour suspension tickets (no money involved) - On June 8, 1988, Poirier again spoke to the R.C.M.P. but neglected to inform the officers of Rochon's comments - The R.C.M.P. de­termined that no theft had occurred - MacDonald sued Poirier for defamation - Poirier pleaded qualified privilege - The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, observed that even if the defence had been applicable, it would have been defeated by Poirier's maliciousness in not making the additional information known to the R.C.M.P. - See paragraphs 48 to 55.

Libel and Slander - Topic 2991

Defences - Qualified privilege - Loss of -Police reports - [See both Libel and Slander - Topic 2988 ].

Libel and Slander - Topic 4007

Malice - General - What constitutes mal­ice - [See second Libel and Slander - Topic 2988 ].

Statutes Noticed:

Defamation Act, R.S.N.B. 1973, c. D-5, sect. 2 [para. 59].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Gatley on Libel and Slander (8th Ed.), paras. 4 [para. 44]; 441 [para. 45]; 508 [para. 47]; 1341 [para. 51].

Counsel:

George E. Kalinowski and Max W. Rich­ardson, for the plaintiff;

B. Richard Bell, for the defendant.

This matter was heard on September 30 and October 1, 1991, in Fredericton, N.B., by Russell, J., of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, who delivered the following decision on October 15, 1991.

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP