Gagged by B.C. Court of Appeal, fish-farm foe Staniford awaits decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on whether it will hear an appeal

Gagged by B.C. court, fish-farm foe takes fight against industry to Scotland by Keven Drews, The Canadian Press, December 24, 2013, The Lethbridge Herald
After losing a defamation case this past summer against one of the province’s biggest salmon-farming companies, Mainstream Canada, Staniford moved shop to Scotland. There, he leads an organization known as Protect Wild Scotland, co-ordinating actions against Norwegian-owned, salmon-farming companies in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and even back in B.C. There, he is equally as vocal on the issue of salmon farming and appears unfazed by the gag order put in place in B.C. “The question for my lawyer and the question for me in the future is how can this injunction, this judgment, this ruling be applicable to my work in Scotland and Ireland,” said Staniford, during a recent interview. “I’ve always been a global campaigner and visited New Zealand and Australia and Chile, so how can they enforce such a ludicrous judgment internationally, especially, when you’ve got Twitter and Facebook.”

The B.C. Court of Appeal ordered Staniford this past July to pay $75,000 in damages for defaming Mainstream Canada during a 2011 campaign, in which he used graphics that looked like cigarette packages and boasted slogans like, “Salmon Farming Kills Like Smoking.” The three member panel found that a lower court judge erred when she upheld Staniford’s defence of fair comment during the original defamation ruling, a ruling in which she called him a “zealot,” challenged his credibility and noted his “closed-mindedness and deep prejudices make him an unreliable reporter of facts.” B.C. Court of Appeal Justice David Tysoe said the defamatory publications did not meet all four elements of a legal test because Staniford didn’t reference the facts upon which he based his comments. Tysoe then ordered Staniford to pay $25,000 and $50,000 in general and punitive damages, respectively, and granted a permanent injunction, requested by the Norwegian-owned company, restraining the activist from “publishing similar words and images in the future.”

Staniford said he has done what’s necessary in B.C. to comply with the court order, taking down his Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture and Superheroes 4 Salmon websites and even stopping his blog. Careful, too, is Staniford about what he says of Mainstream during interviews, while his Vancouver-based lawyer David Sutherland awaits a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on whether it will hear an appeal.

Staniford said he has no plans of giving up his fight against the industry. “I am a campaigner and I have been for 15 years against salmon farming,” he said. “I’ve worked in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, the United States, Canada, all around the world against salmon farming, and I will continue to do so.” [Emphasis added]

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