A BC Supreme Court judge has awarded Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin $75,000 in a defamation case which dates back to the 2013 provincial election campaign.
Justice Robert Punnett ruled that Terrace resident James M. Lynch defamed Austin during a April 30th, 2013 all-candidates forum when he falsely suggested that the incumbent MLA had sexually abused a foster child
In the preamble to his decision , Justice Punnett described Lynch’s words as “unfounded, unjustified and false” and that there was “no basis for them whatsoever.” The judge described Lynch’s conduct as inexcusable and that Austin suffered serious damage to his reputation as a result.
It wasn’t a total court victory for Austin. The judge dismissed a claim that Lynch was acting in a conspiracy with Conservative candidate Mike Brousseau.
Justice Punnett’s ruling says that while circumstantial evidence produced at trial was suspicious, it fell far short of establishing the conspiracy allegation.