U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

St. Lewis v. Rancourt defamation lawsuit::: St. Lewis wins motion to compel answers

Part of the suit of motions discussed in the previous post was a motion to compel answers to questions in cross-examination of defendant Denis Rancourt on an affidavit on the main motion.

In English this means that there was a first (main) motion. Evidence for the main motion was filed in the form of affidavits (sworn or affirmed statements) with exhibits. The defendant was then cross-examined on his affidavits by the plaintiff's lawyer Richard Dearden.

Present at this September 6, 2011, cross-examination were plaintiff Joanne St. Lewis and her two lawyers Richard Dearden and Wendy Wagner (both with the Gowlings law firm), the defendant, and three members of the public who came to observe.

Following refusals by the defendant to answer several questions in cross-examination, on the basis of constituting premature discovery and/or relevancy, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel answers and to re-examine the defendant in a second cross-examination session.

The motion to compel answers was heard in court before Master ("judge") MacLeod on October 6, 2011, and took all day. The ruling is HERE.

In response to the motion to compel answers, the defendant filed evidence about the aggressive nature of the cross-examination, HERE.

Observer Joseph Hickey blogged about the cross-examination (HERE) and the SLAW Canadian law website re-posted some of Mr. Hickey's statements HERE.

The SLAW article also emphasized a law-setting element of the Master's Decision (paragraph-20) regarding the open court principle in out-of-court cross-examinations. These aspects were critiqued on the Activist Teacher blog HERE.

On the main point of the motion, Master Macleod found that four of the fifteen refusal questions were "overly intrusive" and did not need to be answered by the defendant (paragraph-17, HERE). On the questions requiring answers, Master MacLeod ordered a new cross-examination allowing "reasonable follow-up questions".

As a result of the re-examination, the plaintiff was allowed to learn the exact financial and real-estate holdings of the defendant (RRSPs, house, pension), all the communications with expert Claude Lamontagne, about letters of support from U of O professors in the Rancourt dismissal case, and information about the defendant's intentions in suing the University of Ottawa for insurance coverage in the litigation and about his home insurance policy.

Master MacLeod remarked on the possible University of Ottawa involvement as (par-23, in part):

"On the other hand, of course, he [the defendant] will be submitting to the judge on the main motion that the entire motion – and therefore all of the costs – is improper and misguided. In the event that the judge agrees with this, it might not be reasonable for the defendant to be saddled with the costs of a motion within that motion. Of course he also argues that in the action as a whole he is the person being wronged because the action is simply an improper – and indeed unconstitutional – attempt by the University of Ottawa to muzzle free speech and criticism."

The Court's Decision was followed by an attempt by Mr. Dearden to obtain "clarification" that would have changed one aspect of the order. This was settled in favour of the defendant: Dearden to Master Oct.11th, Rancourt to Master Oct.13th, Dearden to Master Oct.13th, Dearden to Master Oct.13th again, Master MacLeod's Order Oct.17th.

As background, all related posts about the lawsuit are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents in the lawsuit are HERE.

A Law Times media article about the lawsuit is HERE.

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