Former Ontario PC party leader Patrick Brown is suing CTV for defamation, months after the network reported two women were accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Brown has filed a statement of claim that seeks damages of $8 million and an order that CTV remove all material in its possession that alleges Brown “illegally provided underage high school girl with alcohol.”
The statement of claim, which was issued Monday in the Superior Court of Justice in Barrie, contains allegations that have yet to be proven in court.
“We consider the defamation of Patrick Brown by CTV to be the most egregious in Canadian history,” Brown’s lawyer, Howard Winkler told Global News. “It is unlikely that the harm done by CTV will ever be fully repaired.”
In January, a CTV News report detailed allegations of sexual misconduct brought forward by two women against Brown, who was the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party at the time. One woman originally alleged that when she was a high school student, Brown gave her alcohol and asked her to perform oral sex.
After the report was published, Brown resigned as leader.
CTV later reported the girl who had originally claimed she was in high school changed her story saying she was 19 at the time of the alleged incident and had graduated from high school.
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The lawsuit names CTV, Bell Media, CTV president Wendy Freeman, CTV anchor Lisa Laflamme, reporters Glen McGregor, Rachel Aiello, and Travis Dhanraj. CP24, in addition to several “Jane or John Doe(s)” as editors, researchers and producers of the initial reporting are also named.
The statement said the defendants falsely broadcast and published newscasts, articles, Tweets and Facebook posts of what Brown allegedly did.
The claim also said prior to CTV’s publication of the “defamatory words,” polls indicated Brown was set to overtake the Wynne Liberals.
“The widespread and sensationalized broadcast and publication of the defamatory words delivered an almost immediate death blow to Mr. Brown’s reputation and political career,” the legal notice states.
“Within hours, Mr. Brown was forced to resign as Leader of the ON PC Party, his rising political aspirations shattered.”
CTV says it stands by its reporting and will vigorously defend it in court. Brown’s allegations have not been proven in court and a
statement of defence has not yet been filed.
On Feb. 24, Brown served CTV with notice of libel, the first legal step in bringing an Ontario defamation lawsuit.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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