uOttawa prof wins libel case against former colleague

June 9, 2014

Joanne St Lewis, a University of Ottawa law professor, has won a libel suit against former colleague Denis Rancourt and been awarded $350,000 in damages. St Lewis charged that Rancourt had used a racial slur to describe her on his blog. She said the slur “was like having a knife inserted and ripping through my life. He really didn’t expect or understand that it would feel that way to me, and that it would empower me to pursue the claim in the way I did.” The defendant boycotted much of the trial, describing it as a “kangaroo court,” but was present for the ruling. Justice Michel Charbonneau will now decide whether or not to impose injunctions against Rancourt that would require him to not defame St Lewis again, to remove all offending material from his blog and Internet search engines, and to have no further contact with her. St Lewis’ lawyer has also asked Justice Charbonneau to initiate contempt proceedings against Rancourt. Ottawa Citizen

Postscript: July 9, 2015

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has rejected an appeal by Denis Rancourt, a former professor at the University of Ottawa. Rancourt was found guilty of defamation in June of last year for a racial slur published on his personal blog against former colleague Joanne St Lewis. Rancourt now faces over $1 M in legal costs and damages. Ottawa Citizen | Ottawa Sun