July 17, 2015

Twitter harassment case threatens free speech online, could turn Charter rights into "suggestions"

Brian LilleyArchive

In Toronto, a woman had a man charged with "criminal harassment" over what he said to her on Twitter. Even the police admit that he didn't actually threaten the woman. So why is he on trial?

Because he disagreed with the self-described feminist, and she complained that that made her feel "unsafe."

In essence, this man is being tried for harassment by a woman who admits she wanted to harass another man for making an offensive video game!

It's a long (and pretty juvenile) story involving public shaming, feminism, social media and other very "2015" concepts, but will our "old fashioned" rights to free speech take a beating?

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commented 2015-07-26 06:39:34 -0400
Damien Butler… agreed, sort of. I appreciate what you’re saying and why you’re saying it, I really do. But I hope you’re not serious about reporting our Joan. I understand the point you’re trying to make, but succumbing to the very tactics you deplore isn’t the answer. Joan has a right to speak, and even call people names, even if we happen to disagree. There is a line, certainly, but she hasn’t crossed it. I don’t like some of her opinions either. I think that some of her comments are unfair and uncalled for, and that she often confuses her own personal opinions and inferences for facts, but we all do that from time to time, and it doesn’t constitute criminal harassment.
Joan, a lot of us already know your background, and I can see why you claim to have expertise in this particular area, but your explanation of the nature of the charge and the burden of proof are wrong. There is a subjective element involved on the part of both the complainant and the accused, but the test is actually objective. It’s based on what a reasonable person in the complainant’s circumstances would do and think. I’ve also been following Christie Blatchford’s reporting on the trial, but even she started questioning the complainants’ credibility toward the end.
This is something we both seem to agree on. The complainants’ so-called fears for their safety are simply not reasonable or believable in the circumstances. It’s the Crown’s onus — not the complainants — to prove otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt, and that seems rather unlikely.
I certainly don’t fear for my life just because somebody online disagrees with my comment, even if I feel they’ve attacked my intelligence or character. If they had a valid criticism of my argument they would have responded with that instead of an ad hominem attack, and so when you think about it, that kind of response is actually a validation.
If I were Elliott, I might consider suing Guthrie, et al, for malicious prosecution once he’s acquitted. It’s not as common against a private individual as it is against the Crown, but it is available (see: Drainville v. Vilchez, 2014 ONSC 4060). At the very least, the complainants should be ordered to repay his legal expenses on a solicitor-client, full indemnity basis.
commented 2015-07-23 12:07:08 -0400
The new wave of feminism has less to do with gender equality than it does with Misandry. The normal way a feminist tries to shut up a person who disagrees with her is to attack them and call them sexist and misogynists. They seem to be incapable of understanding or accepting facts over opinions. In this case, calling this man a misogynist didn’t work, he was not afraid of a radical feminist and would not be silenced where it comes to disputing radical opinions. So she then found a way to shut him up good.I am not fully away of all of the details and evidence in this case so I cannot say with certainty what actually happened, but with the verdict in this case we should know and have access to all of the information.This case seems to be more about ruining this man because he is, Male, and does not agree with radical feminist views. He started out interested in the true feminist cause that has to do with equality and wanted to part of it and quickly and unfortunately discovered this woman’s true motivation, which appears and is supported by her malicious actions, a strong hatred for men. The true issue with this case goes even further and has huge impacts in regards to freedom of speech and expression. Anyone interested in the facts about Feminism and gender equality issues should look up The Factual Feminist on you tube (Christina Hoff Sommers). She is a balanced and fair feminist who uses undistorted and factual facts about gender issues.
commented 2015-07-23 11:48:10 -0400
Joan, referring to me as “honey” makes me feel sexually objectified and I feel it is sexually harassing me. Also painting me as a “misogynist” is very offensive and derogatory. If you refer to me as “honey” again I will report you to the RCMP for sexual harassment, because to me that term is a sexual one and you are making me feel uncomfortable. Also if you continue to call me, what I feel is a derogatory name I will also include that in my Police report against you. Please not not comment to me again, or about me because that would be stalking and from this case in front of the courts show, should cause you enough concern to respect my safety and boundaries. Bullies like you Joan as a plague in this day and age of social media, if anyone disagrees with you, you then attack them and slander them by calling them “misogynists” or “pigs” or whatever other “group” of undesirables you feel would cause the most distress or damage to them. I may have not been clear enough in my previous comment where I told you I would be pursuing criminal charges if you directed derogatory comments towards me or others so I will spell it out for you. Joan Abernathy (or person using that name in this forum) Please do not make any more comments towards me or about me. Any further communication and/or derogatory or sexualized comments about me will me cause emotional harm and distress. I feel like you are targeting me and stalking me which is against the law. No more warnings after this. If you do any of those things I will have no other choice out of fear that you are a danger to myself and to my well being but to call the police and pursue criminal charges against you.
commented 2015-07-22 10:45:33 -0400
Hey Joan, am I offending you by saying you are a stupid bitch? Good, you are please feel free to run to the police I’ll take my chances on that harassment charge.
commented 2015-07-21 01:06:31 -0400
Charter rights in Canada are only “suggestions” anyway. All can be annulled if someone whines that they are a victim, no matter WHATt the substance of the case. This is how we are educating our lawyers and judges. Won’t matter to you if your property is off shore, of course.
commented 2015-07-20 22:30:38 -0400
Damien, honey, how am I portraying men in general? Can you be more specific?

I will not let you or any other misogynist shut me up. Nice try with your nasty menace but no banana, monkey skunky!! And no, that is not a generalization of all men; that is just for you … honey.
commented 2015-07-20 19:09:47 -0400
Joan, I am feeling criminally harassed by the way you are speaking to Kevin and would understand him forcing charges on you. I am also feeling quite uncomfortable with the disgusting way you are portraying men in general. I am absolutely offended by that. I would suggest you check your words and choose them very carefully as any more of these types of comments whether they are directed towards me personally, if they speak of men in a derogatory manner, will cause great anguish and discomfort and will cause me to suffer serious distress. Please, keep your opinions to yourself or I will be forced to act.
commented 2015-07-20 18:27:02 -0400
Kevin Keswick – I know more about criminal harassment than you do. That is the crime he is charged with, or did you fail to notice that? Or maybe you don’t know that a charge of criminal hatorassment doesn’t require sexual insult or death threat but only injury to the victim.

Why take a shot at me like you did? It’s the first step in criminally harassing me, you know. I have every right to bitch back at you too. The law does not require anyone to be a willing victim. If you stalk me, in fact, I will do whatever is necessary to self-defend, including going to police and/or hiring private security to take care of you.

Learn the law, KK. Attacking me just makes you look like a creepy stalker.
commented 2015-07-20 18:20:15 -0400
Prince Knight – Get a hearing aid or pay attention. Stupid fuck. :-)
commented 2015-07-19 15:56:33 -0400
Yet another reason why I will have nothing to do with Facebook or Twitter. Perception is in the eye of the beholder, and God help you if someone takes “offense”! Napoleonic law: Guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent! This situation reeks of that.
commented 2015-07-18 03:05:47 -0400
Language police.

The punishment isn’t sentencing. It’s the 50K in after tax dollars it’s going to cost for the trial.

The process is the punishment.

And with so many lefty radical judges, avoid argumentative engagements on social(ist) media. This is just another revenue stream for big fat gummamint and vulture defense lawyers.
commented 2015-07-18 00:57:23 -0400
Here is a copy of the Defense’s closing arguments

The injustice against this poor man is even worse than previously known. Not only did Elliott not threaten Guthrie or use sexually abusive language – Elliott actually blocked Guthrie BEFORE she blocked him and furthermore after he blocked her Elliott did not send one direct tweet to her! Also it is false to say he “stalked” her. Elliott participated in an open forum using a hashtag Guthrie created – a forum that was open to everything (Joan you should read the closing statements before commenting on something you know nothing about).

One of the things that stands out for me is how monumentally STUPID the Toronto Detective Jeff Bangild is for arresting Elliott. He laid a second charge against Elliott after Heather Reilly aka @ladysnarksalot sent Bangild a tweet saying “Elliott harassed me too!”. A look at her tweets showed that she was WILLINGLY tweeting back and forth with Elliott up until the day before the arrest and yet she claims to be a victim?

The Toronto Cop Jeff Bangild must be one of the biggest moron’s on the force (and that says a lot). While this case was before the courts – contrary to the rules – Bangild presented evidence of his investigation in front of a public audience ( a “social media in law enforcement trial” SMILE conference in sunny Sunnyvale California). He should be charged under the police act and fired and Guthrie and Reilly should be charged with criminal mischief AND criminal libel (we have such a thing in Canada).

For those who are interested Elliott’s sons have set up a go-fund-me page to help with legal bills which are approaching $100K thanks to these vindictive women and an idiot cop and idiot prosecutor.

commented 2015-07-17 23:48:09 -0400
I’m sorry, Joan, did you say something?
commented 2015-07-17 22:30:05 -0400
Another element mixed in with this legal mess is a principle that feminists got mixed in with family law….a shift in burden of proof….Under the prevention of domestic violence legislation….allegations of abuse or fear of violence do not need to be proven…..which is seen as being necessary in order to protect women.

This was a Trojan horse…slipped into the law on the understanding that because family law was not criminal law and no peril of incarceration was a stake….normal burden of proof and perjury could be waived.

Problem is it is now migrated into criminal law…that is how that nut bar who tried to get her ex offed by the under cover mountie got the pussy pass.

False allegation has been legalized.
commented 2015-07-17 22:03:27 -0400
The so called Charter of Rights in Canada does not protect Canadians from the kangaroo court Human Rights Commissions but it does protect foreign criminals who are in the country illegally.
commented 2015-07-17 21:50:53 -0400
Prince Knight – glad to hear you know your place – to shut up and fuck off – :-) I know you love me. Some men, though, just can’t stand a smart woman. They think we should all be worth half a man, stay barefoot, pregnant, and be all accepting and forgiving when they bring home the clap.

Seriously, though, I’m afraid Elliott did a little more than disagree with Guthrie. As Christie Blatchford, writing for the National Post, wrote, “Ms. Guthrie blocked him on Twitter, but he kept on top of her movements by watching the hashtags she followed and shadowing the events she organized.” In other words, he stalked her.

Stalking is the old term for what Elliott is charged with – criminal harassment. Having established, thus, why he was charged, it is now up to Guthrie to prove the element required for conviction, that his stalking caused her to fear for her life. That is the part of her claim that may be more difficult to prove than she thought.

As Christie Blatchford observed, and as I can confirm from my own experience including on this site, women who express unpopular views are subjected to the most vicious and vile vitriol from the men they disagree with.

Hey, fellas, if you’re going to go all batshit on me for saying that, blame Christie Blatchford; it is she who said it.

Blatchford said she is sorry such a bright mind as Guthrie’s is subjected to the hatred she has been subjected to.

Having said that, however, I am not sure Guthrie’s experience meets the threshold required for a conviction. I am not sure her experience with Elliott’s stalking actually made her fear for her life. That is why it is so interesting this is before the court. That is also probably why the Crown decided to prosecute this case, to make law on the issue of online harassment.

As to the issue of why Guthrie has not been charged with harassing the fellow who made the video game about punching women in the face – hahahaha – I guess the difference between the two cases is that he didn’t file a complaint.

And as to the impact of this case on free speech – I think it has no impact on the issue of Charter-protected freedoms at all. This isn’t a case about what Elliott said but about what he did. He stalked her online, shadowed her and tagged her relentlessly. That is the definition of criminal harassment although this case is the first test of how the crime might actually be interpreted in an online context. That is the real story here, not whether free speech is being eroded by feminists and whether, therefore, we should all be punched in the face.
commented 2015-07-17 21:16:09 -0400
Just a suggestion, we know there is so much abuse of the court system in this country. For those people who tend to waste the court’s time with stupid accusations that end up in court should pay a hefty fine for their stupidity. Too many people out there abuse our public services and I think it should be time to fine people for being idiots. Just imagine how much money the government can make from the left wing progressives in this country, I think we can pay off the national debt!
commented 2015-07-17 20:52:14 -0400
The courts should dismiss her charge, charge her with making a false report and charge her for the malicious attacks she has perpetrated against the other bozo.
commented 2015-07-17 19:41:11 -0400
Agreed, Glen — “…disagree with a feminist at your own peril…” As we’ve found out all to well here with Joan Abernathy. The only way to disagree with a feminist is to shut up and walk away.
commented 2015-07-17 19:03:02 -0400
“This isn’t an appropriate role for the courts” for sure it is not!
“preferred victim”
Oh, oh.
commented 2015-07-17 17:31:35 -0400
Richard I watched a few episodes on the youtube site you directed me to. I find its mostly based on fear. Not actually what the government has said, but what you or should I say the narrator says that is not written there. I’m just so tired of this fear mongering with unsubstantiated theories that we are becoming a communist country. One example they gave in one of those videos states that not only will the government and other law enforcement agencies will stop a known person from leaving this country for the purpose of fighting ISIS. It goes on to say that pedophiles would fall under this law. But wait, your not a pedophile unless you are convicted as such in a court of law. If you have a criminal record you can’t get a passport in the first place. So that argument they have has no basis in fact. But the fact remains bill c51 is here to stay. Don’t want it vote for the guy or girl that promises to scan that bill. Just remember, all politicians lie and will say anything to get elected. Remember Jean Chretien lie about shaping the GST?
commented 2015-07-17 17:25:01 -0400
Of course this does not come as a surprise. Toronto being the most left wing, PC, butt-hole city in Canada,and the Toronto (Red) Star the most lefty rag. From the lesbian mayor on down, they all support and promote the so-called Human Rights Commission, a bunch of unelected bureaucrats that has deemed it illegal to offend someone, unless of course you are offending or discriminating against Jews, Christians or White heterosexual males. It’s truly pathetic how the Libtards make it a career of trying to out victimize each other. For Gods sake get a life.
commented 2015-07-17 17:12:23 -0400
Brian why isn’t he counter suing her with the same criminal harassment charge? What’s good for is also good for him right!? Isn’t that what feminist want, equal rights?
commented 2015-07-17 16:19:23 -0400
In Edmonton free speech is policed by undercover Marxist Leninist communists who not only organize most of the protests and rallies in Edmonton but also send out free speech police out into the crowds to monitor and disrupt freedom of the press – Exposed on YouTube during during an anti C51 protest at Canada place that featured Green Party and NDP candidates and key speaker MP Linda Duncan (the only federal NDP MP in Alberta) https://youtu.be/0IBaAy1xm1I
commented 2015-07-17 16:16:45 -0400
Take it from my experience…..disagree with a feminist at your peril…..the law society and the courts are feminist commandeered.