Thursday, May 26, 2005

Murphy's Throw-In

As I mentioned below, I suspect that the Conservatives decided to surrender the tapes to the RCMP in order to neutralize demands for their release, which I described as 'kicking into touch' (Rugby-ese for putting the ball out of play).

I suspect that this was in response to what Murphy and his lawyers were doing. Before the Conservatives had surrendered the tapes, Murphy was threatening legal action: "Mr. Murphy has retained legal counsel and will be pursuing a libel action against Andrew Coyne of the National Post." (see here )

I wonder whether the point here was not so much to punish Coyne or indeed to silence him, but to create a circumstance in which the tapes could be subpoened?

Once the tapes are in the hands of the RCMP, does the strategy change?


Blogger matt said...

Interesting thought, but I don't think Murphy would get that far.

A high standard exists to compel the production of evidence from the opposing side, in the case of Murphy's civil libel suit (which incidentally wouldn't involve the RCMP).

Given that Murphy is in the public eye, and Coyne is a columnist, the standard for libel in the first place is quite high. Murphy doesn't have a case, in my opinion, and Coyne would like get win a motion to dismiss and get costs, in my opinion. I'll be shocked if a judge ever sees this.

And Murphy must prove he was damaged not from the contents of the tape, but what Coyne printed. So Coyne could invoke some or all of the contents of the tape in his defense, which would then have to be passed on Murphy (but only the parts Coyne would be relying on).

This is "libel-chill". And it should be denounced.

8:43 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Oh - the RCMP could seize the tapes in s. 119 C.C. investigation. But that doesn't mean they would necessarily become public.

8:44 PM  

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