Former Olympic CEO defamed freelance journalist: lawyer

The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jun. 26, 2015

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong defamed freelance journalist Laura Robinson by portraying her as a cruel and callous activist who tried to extort money from him, Ms. Robinson’s lawyer said Friday in his closing argument.

And, the lawyer said, Mr. Furlong should not be able to claim he was merely responding to an attack, because his statements showed a “reckless disregard for truth.”

Ms. Robinson is suing Mr. Furlong for his response to a story she wrote in September, 2012, which alleged the former Olympics CEO abused students while teaching in northern B.C. more than 40 years ago.

Mr. Furlong held a news conference the day the article was published, saying the story showed a lack of diligence and accusing Ms. Robinson of having a vendetta against him. Ms. Robinson also claims in her lawsuit that Mr. Furlong implied she tried to extort him.

Bryan Baynham, one of Ms. Robinson’s lawyers, told the court Mr. Furlong’s statements from September, 2012, to December, 2013, “were defamatory both in their literal meaning and in their inferential meaning.”

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