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Star reporter to sue Rob Ford for ‘pervert accusation,’ newspaper editor says

ABOVE: Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is suing Mayor Rob Ford after the mayor appeared to insinuate Dale was a pedophile. Peter Kim reports.

TORONTO – A Toronto Star reporter is suing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Vision TV after the mayor appeared to insinuate the reporter was a pedophile during a recent interview with Conrad Black.

Ford was referencing a 2012 incident when he found Star reporter Daniel Dale on a public lot close to his home. Dale said he was in the park to research a story about Ford’s attempt to buy the land.

Ford said Dale was perched on blocks, taking photos of Ford’s children over the fence. Dale said he was doing none of those things and said a police investigation backs him up.

“He’s taking photos of little kids,” Ford said during the interview. “I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking ‘What’s this guy all about?’”

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In Depth: Mayor Rob Ford

“I am serving Rob Ford today with a libel notice, the first step in the process of pursuing a defamation lawsuit,” Dale wrote on TheStar.com. “I am also serving Vision TV, which twice broadcast Ford’s vile and defamatory remarks to Conrad Black even though their interview was filmed days before it aired.”

A processor served the mayor with a libel notice – a prerequisite to a defamation suit – at his office Thursday afternoon.

The libel notice asks the mayor to “immediately retract the false information” and “all of his false statements,” according to Dale’s article.

Dale also asks Vision owner ZoomerMedia to apologize “immediately ‘publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely.’”

“I can’t tolerate it. I won’t tolerate it,” he wrote.

The mayor’s brother Doug Ford suggested it was just “another way for Daniel Dale and the Toronto Star to get publicity.” He also questioned whether the suit will “stand up in court.”

If the lawsuit does get to court, Dale’s lawyer will have to prove Ford’s comments disparaged his reputation, libel lawyer Christopher Statham told Global News.

“Daniel Dale has the obligation to prove that the statements are defamatory, but the fact that Rob Ford did not use the word pedophile doesn’t mean that it is not defamatory,” he said.

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He added that part of the reason a libel notice is served is to give the person a chance to apologize or retract their statements.

Ford previously refused to apologize at a press conference on Tuesday, instead choosing to “stand by ever word.”

Watch the video below: Mayor Rob Ford stands by his remarks 

The newspaper and the Ford brothers have had a tumultuous relationship dating back to 2010 when the newspaper published a story that alleged the mayor had a “confrontation” with a student he was coaching (the student denied the allegations in a subsequent article in The Globe and Mail). The Toronto Star also alleged the mayor was asked to leave the Garrison Ball earlier this year and was the first Canadian newspaper to publish allegations the mayor had been caught on video smoking what might be crack cocaine.

Read More: Past legal troubles, substance abuse allegations in the life of Rob Ford

“It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say about it,” Dale said Tuesday. “In the calmest terms possible, it is unpleasant when the mayor of the biggest city in Canada essentially accuses you, or suggests you are a pedophile.”

Dale told The Toronto Star he was in the public park beside the mayor’s home to do research.

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“I did not want to do this. In fact, I so strongly did not want to do this that I had a whole announcement written about why I was going to take the high road and give Ford a pass for his defamation against me. I was going to make the announcement this morning,” Dale said in  the Toronto Star.

Iris Fischer, one of the lawyers representing Daniel Dale, told CP24 she was asked to sign a document promising she wouldn’t bring her cell phone or a recording device into the mayor’s office when she accompanied the processor who was serving the mayor. She refused.

See the libel notice served to Rob Ford: