By ordering a woman to pay a former Conservative Party candidate $6,000 for making defamatory comments on Facebook, a judge reminded that even a public figure has the right to respect her reputation and privacy .
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“It’s been a little over two years since you, the father of my children and you, were mean to me, put me down and made my life extremely difficult,” wrote Noémie Simard the night before, notably on her Facebook page about Véronique Laprise of the voting day in September 2021.
The latter ran at that time in the federal elections in the ride from Beauport-Côte-de-Beaupré-Île-D’Orléans-Charlevoix under the banner of the Conservatives.
Noémie Simard, Véronique Laprise’s ex-partner, also accuses her in her publication of “being passed off as Véronique Laprise’s mother [s]are children” and thus to promote his candidacy, which the politician categorically rejected.
The publication has been shared more than a hundred times on social networks and has generated many negative comments about Véronique Laprise.
PHOTO DIANE TREMBLAY
A judge has ordered a woman to pay former Conservative Party candidate Véronique Laprise (pictured) $6,000 for making defamatory comments on Facebook.
During her testimony, she said that these were false statements and that she did not understand why Mr.me Simard made such accusations against him. On the contrary, the few contacts between them before had been cordial, she added.
This story also affected her so much that she consulted a psychologist. “As she toured the various hubs in the county where she ran, [elle] was nervous and afraid of being publicly challenged and confronted,” the publication’s comments read.
Subsequently, Véronique Laprise withdrew from public life and limited her outings, fearing being arrested on the street or in the shops of the commune where she lives.
When the publication was released on the eve of the election, according to Judge Claude Bouchard, there was no doubt that the intention was to harm the politician. For the magistrate, the publication of “false remarks exceeds freedom of speech”. Rather, it is slander.
“A public figure’s reputation is very important, as they know they are more exposed to derogatory comments if they present themselves under the banner of a political party. Aside from that, these people are also entitled to respect for their reputation and privacy,” the judge found, ordering Noémie Simard to pay compensatory and punitive damages totaling $6,000.
– With Michael Nguyen