Journalist threatens Furlong with defamation lawsuit

Robinson denies vendetta, demands apology

Journalist Laura Robinson’s lawyer wants an apology from John Furlong after his late October/early November public relations spree and is threatening to file a defamation lawsuit against the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics boss if she doesn’t get one.

Bryan Baynham released the letter below on Nov. 13.

Robinson denies she has a personal vendetta against Furlong, who has been accused by ex-students of abusing them in 1969 and 1970. Furlong has denied all allegations against him and none of the allegations has been proven in court. He filed court papers backing off from the Georgia Straight on Oct. 29, after announcing he intended to escalate his action against Robinson.

Nearly a year has passed since Furlong filed his defamation lawsuit over Robinson’s expose in the Georgia Straight (“John Furlong biography omits secret past in Burns Lake”). The story that Furlong said offended him remains online — the Georgia Straight never apologized or retracted the story. Furlong has still not asked for dates for examination for discovery or scheduled a trial against Robinson. Baynham intends to proceed in December with an application for the court to quash Furlong’s lawsuit for “want of prosecution” — legalese for inaction.

A request for comment from Furlong yielded this prepared response (which did not say when or if Furlong will set trial dates):

“No apology is merited nor will be made; my “Enough is Enough” statement at stands. This activist is once again attempting to use the media to broadcast and publish highly damaging, untrue and defamatory allegations that are before the courts and that have wrought severe and sustained damage against me and my family. I have been told by the RCMP that there is no merit to the  allegations that have been made by Laura Robinson and Beverley (sic) Abraham. This is a matter of record and is in writing. This activist has an established record of inaccuracy. I will be continuing to pursue the case in court and do not believe that anyone should be continuing to defame me in public, by repeating damaging, false and defamatory allegations while a court case is underway. The facts are that after a 16-month investigation the RCMP have told us verbally and in writing that the original allegation made by Laura Robinson against me involving Beverley (sic) Abraham, has been found to have no basis in evidence. I respect the RCMP for their professionalism and independence.  All other defamatory allegations made against me by this activist, or anyone else, will be fought with similar vigour in the courts.”

For more on the case, read Furlong goes all-out in court of public opinion.

Letter to John Hunter.pdf

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