LIBEL LAWSUIT: Lawyer Ed Corrigan says a T.O. lawyer will apologize for his e-mails
By Scott Taylor, The London Free Press, January 16, 2012
A London human-rights lawyer and former city councillor who sued a Toronto lawyer for $25,000 in libel damages said a settlement is just days away.
The case began in June 2010 when Ed Corrigan asked Toronto lawyer and investment firm president William Hechter to apologize for several e-mails he reportedly sent to members of the Law Union of Ontario in which he described Corrigan as one of Canada’s worst anti-Semites and an idiotic spammer.
The accusations came on the heels of three e-mails in three days Corrigan sent to members that were critical of Israel’s Palestinian policies and its treatment of Palestinian civilians.
“The Law Union discusses all sorts of human rights issues, political issues, and people post articles on just about any issue you could think of,” Corrigan said.
“I posted an article by Globe and Mail writer Rick Salutin. In the article, he quoted Margaret Atwood, who had published an article called The shadow over Israel. That’s when Mr. Hechter attacked me for being anti-Semitic.”
Corrigan said he demanded an apology and Hechter dared him to sue.
“So I sued him. I’ve received over 60 letters from Jewish academics and activists stating that to criticize Israel is not anti-Semitic. Israel, like any country in the world, can be criticized for its policies. That’s not criticizing Jews for being Jews, that’s criticizing the policies of a state.”
The court battle began in September 2010 after Hechter, who is also the president of investment company Excalibur Limited Partnership, filed a defence. With no settlement in sight, the case was elevated to small claims court in Toronto the following March.
It remained unresolved through last Dec. 22, when a judge set a trial date, but since then an agreement in principle has been reached.
Hechter, who would only confirm that an agreement was imminent, said he’s not allowed to discuss the details of it.
He wouldn’t comment on other aspects of the case, either.
Corrigan said though he won’t receive a cent, a “modest” donation will be made by Hechter to an undetermined charity and an apology will be posed on the Law Union site.
“The policies of the current government of Israel are being criticized by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross, and the World Court. It’s absurd to say they’re anti-Semitic.”
As for the long-awaited settlement, Corrigan said a middle ground he and Hechter can both live with was eventually found.
“We’ve both had positive and constructive discussions on the issue. We may not agree, but he recognizes that it’s not anti-Semitic to criticize a country’s policies.”