Quebec judge dismisses defamation suit against comedian Mike Ward regarding joke

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MONTREAL – A Quebec comedian who received a high-profile Supreme Court of Canada human rights case final 12 months has logged one other authorized victory against considered one of his accusers.

A Quebec court docket judge has dismissed a defamation suit against comedian Mike Ward in reference to a joke he made between 2010 and 2013 about Jeremy Gabriel, who on the time was a widely known teenage singer with a incapacity.

Gabriel’s mom, Sylvie Gabriel, was looking for $84,600 from Ward, arguing the joke he made at her son’s expense induced her important hurt.

Judge Manon Gaudreault dismissed the suit, writing that the one-year time interval to file a defamation declare had handed — even when bearing in mind the time the case had spent in different courts.

However, Gaudreault’s May 30 choice rejected Ward’s declare that Sylvie Gabriel’s lawsuit was abusive and an extreme use of the authorized system.

The choice is the newest step in an extended authorized saga between the Gabriel household and Ward, which culminated in a Supreme Court of Canada ruling final fall stating that Ward’s feedback didn’t quantity to discrimination beneath Quebec’s rights constitution.

Jeremy Gabriel has Treacher Collins syndrome, a congenital situation characterised by deformities of the cranium and face. When Ward had delivered his comedy routine mocking Jeremy Gabriel, {the teenager} was a widely known singer who had appeared alongside Celine Dion and the Pope.

In 2016, Quebec’s human rights tribunal ordered Ward to pay $35,000 in damages to Gabriel and $7,000 to his mom based mostly on the remarks, which included a joke about drowning the singer. But that case went to the Supreme Court, pitting inventive expression, within the type of darkish comedy, against the safety of 1’s dignity.

In a 5-4 choice final October, the nation’s highest court docket concluded that the weather of a discrimination declare beneath the Quebec constitution had not been established within the case. The court docket additionally stated the singer and his mom selected the incorrect court docket — the human rights tribunal — for his or her case.

Jeremy Gabriel has additionally filed a separate $288,000 authorized motion against Ward in Quebec Superior Court.

Ward’s lawyer, Julius Grey, says he’ll search to have that suit dismissed at a June 29 listening to.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed June 22, 2022.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A earlier model stated Julius Grey was Jeremy Gabriel’s lawyer. Grey is Mike Ward’s lawyer.

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