Watch the video above: Toronto Star Reporter says Ford’s ‘sorry’ isn’t good enough. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is going ahead with a defamation lawsuit against Rob Ford after the mayor issued a public apology over an apparent insinuation that Dale was a pedophile.
Dale said Ford didn’t “retract or specifically apologize for the categorically false, malicious, and in-itself-defamatory claim about me taking pictures of his young kids,” in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.
Media lawyer, Doug Richardson, who also does work for Global News, doesn’t think Ford’s statement is a retraction and calls the apology “significantly qualified.” He points out that in most defamation cases, an apology or retraction only mitigates or reduces damages awarded to a successful plaintiff.
“Mayor Ford’s statement that he does not believe Mr. Dale is a pedophile and that he did not mean to insinuate ‘anything personally’ about Mr. Dale will likely mitigate damages to some extent but it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the amount of damages awarded to Mr. Dale if he is successful in a defamation lawsuit.”
Watch: Mayor Ford apologizes to Daniel Dale
Ford made the remarks during a pre-recorded interview with Conrad Black last week, and apologized in city council on Tuesday. He said his remarks were misinterpreted.
“I do not mean to insinuate anything about Mr. Dale personally in my interview with Mr. Black,” Ford read in a statement to council.
“I wish to sincerely apologize again to Mr. Dale if my actual words have caused him any harm or personal offence.”
“I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile. I have no issue with Mr. Dale personally. I understand he is an employee in a very competitive news business,” Ford said.
Dale’s lawyer served Ford with a libel notice last week, days after Ford said he stood by “every word” of his interview with Black that aired last Monday on ZoomerMedia. At the time he said he also served VisionTV, which is owned and operated by ZoomerMedia.
A spokesperson had no comment Tuesday evening. The company had issued a statement Friday, saying they would consult with their attorneys to determine next steps.
Scroll down to read the libel documents
“He’s taking photos of little kids,” Ford said during the interview with Black.
“I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking ‘What’s this guy all about?’”
Ford was referencing a May 2012 incident when he found 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.
READ MORE: The top 10 Rob Ford videos of 2013
At council, Ford maintained he “honestly believed” his neighbour’s account of the events–that someone was “lurking” at Ford’s fence and appeared to be taking pictures of his family. But during the Black interview, Ford said, he “was merely commenting on the thoughts that went through my mind on (that) night.”
“It is unfortunate that the word I did not say has been ascribed to me by the Toronto media,” Ford read.
“If Daniel Dale is here” – he gestured to the press gallery – “I want to personally apologize to him.”
The libel notice served by Dale’s lawyer to Ford last week:
With files from David Shum