Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin

Skeena MLA awarded $75,000 in civil supreme court defamation case

The ruling stems from false allegations that NDP MLA Robin Austin had abused a foster child in his care

A supreme court judge has awarded Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin $75,000 in his civil suit against a local man who alleged, in a public statement at an all-candidates meeting during the 2013 provincial election, that Austin had abused a foster child in his care.

Mister Justice Robert Punnett said “I wish to make clear that the words spoken were unfounded, unjustified and false. There was no basis for them whatsoever. Mr. Lynch’s conduct was inexcusable. Mr. Austin as a result suffered serious damage to his reputation. He is entitled to substantial damages….”

Punnett also found that Michael Brousseau, named in the suit for allegedly conspiring with James Lynch to make the statement, was not involved.

Read the full court documents below

In Austin’s civil claim, first filed in the BC Supreme Court Jan. 9, 2014, Austin said Lynch’s comments at an April 2013 all candidates meeting, in which he alleged Austin abused a foster child, characterize Austin as a sexual predator and not worthy of his standing in the community and of his position as a public official.

Austin claimed general, aggravated, punitive and special damages of $125,000 against Lynch and also against Michael Brousseau, the BC Conservative candidate who ran against Austin in that election and in the previous 2009 provincial election.

The original suit filed against Lynch included a “John Doe” who was then described as Brousseau in the amended suit, filed Oct. 2, 2014.

In Lynch’s amended response, he denied having any plan or scheme between himself and Brousseau when he made the statements or at all.

It went on to say that Lynch acted “entirely on his own in making the statements” and that Lynch does not know Brousseau, other than from minimal contact from when Brousseau was campaigning.

Brousseau also maintained he did not know Lynch nor scheme with him and that Austin’s claim against him was politically motivated.

Lynch and Brousseau said they had only met when Brousseau came to Lynch’s doorstep during the campaign.

The civil case lasted nine days and heard testimony from numerous witnesses.

Austin v. Lynch Final Judgment

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Former B.C. fire chief gets seven months for possession of child porn

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty during a brief hearing last year to one count

B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

More teachers pour in, union wants results suppressed

Sacred Ground ancient burial story goes to Philadelphia

VIDEO: Smithers cultural resource company filmed their work of BC Hydro discovery near Hagwilget.

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

Most Read