Court finds that Phil Jackman, Trevor Paine, Remon Hanna, and Valley Traffic Systems Inc. defamed Raoul Malak and the Ansan Traffic Group
In 2012 and 2013, Raoul Malak and the Ansan Traffic Group were the innocent targets of unrelenting defamatory attacks by anonymous perpetrators via numerous Internet websites, blogs, YouTube videos, emails and other Internet publications. The perpetrators, who hid behind pseudonyms and a complex web of foreign internet service providers, flooded the Internet with falsehoods and lies with “the common design of ‘destroying, diminishing or undermining’ the reputations of Mr. Malak and the Ansan Group” in order to “achieve an unfair competitive advantage over the Ansan Group.”
After allocating considerable resources to the intense investigation that ensued for nearly a year, Mr. Malak and the Ansan Traffic Group filed a lawsuit for libel damages in the spring of 2013. After a four week trial held in 2016, Mr. Justice Funt of the British Columbia Supreme Court unmasked the anonymous perpetrators and found them “jointly and severally liable for the published materials” in a lengthy written judgment released on September 28, 2017.
Who did the Court find were the perpetrators?
Justice Funt held that the perpetrators were business competitors – Valley Traffic Systems Inc. of Langley, owner Phil Jackman, Vice-President Trevor Paine, and Remon Hanna (who had authority to represent Valley Traffic Systems Inc. in dealings with potential customers).
In addition to finding that the defamatory accusations against Mr. Malak and his companies were unequivocally false, Mr. Justice Funt found that “Mr. Phil Jackman, Mr. Trevor Paine, and Mr. Remon Hanna and Valley Traffic Systems Inc. acted with malice. They intended to defame the plaintiffs in order to achieve an unfair competitive advantage over the Ansan Group, especially with respect to the BC Hydro Contract and possible Telus work” and that they “had a common design of ‘destroying, diminishing, or undermining’ the reputations of Mr. Malak and the Ansan Group”.
The first stage of the trial held in 2016 involved extensive evidence from witnesses in British Columbia, elsewhere in Canada, and from representatives of well-known internet services providers in the USA. This stage determined only the issue of liability.
The next stage of the trial, which is not yet scheduled, will concern the assessment of monetary compensation payable to Mr. Malak and the Ansan Group by Valley Traffic Systems Inc., Phil Jackman, Trevor Paine and Remon Hanna.
Mr. Malak and the Ansan Group had no choice but to bring the BC Supreme Court libel lawsuit in order to clear their names and vindicate their personal and business reputations. The BC Supreme Court judgment in September 2017 accomplished this.
The judgment emphasized that none of the allegations against Mr. Malak or the Ansan Traffic Group were true, noting that “Mr. Phil Jackman is not a credible witness” and that he is “one of those ‘shrewd persons adept at the half-lie’.”
With respect to Remon Hanna, Justice Funt said “In sum, Mr. Remon Hanna is not a credible witness.” He also found that “Mr. Hanna’s wrongful acts were incentivized by the contingency arrangements that [Valley Traffic Systems Inc.] had with Mr. Hanna” who served as a key representative of Valley in connection with large commercial proposals where the Ansan Group was a major competitor.
Mr. Malak, his family and the employees of the Ansan Group now look forward to a future which is not clouded with suspicion based on Internet falsehoods and lies.
The complete judgment is available here.
The defendants have filed an appeal from this judgment.
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