2014 ONCA 144

2014 ONCA 144 involved a restauranteur defaming an unhappy customer who posted negative reviews online. The customer telephoned Ms. S’ restaurant to criticize the service she received, and later posted reviews online. S used the customer’s contact information to set up fake email accounts and used the fake accounts to send defamatory emails to the victim’s employer. S also posted a sexually explicit message to an adult cyber-dating website claiming to be the victim and using the victim’s photograph.

Defence counsel conceded that the messages amounted to libel but argued that the Crown had not proven that S authored the message beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court disagreed, finding that S created the posts and authored the defamatory messages because the dating site posting was registered and billed to S’ home address. S was convicted of two counts of defamatory libel and sentenced to 90-days imprisonment. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed S’ appeal of her conviction, but allowed the mother of three to serve her sentence intermittently on weekends.


Criminal Offence(s): Defamatory Libel