It’s not just a loss for journalist Laura Robinson.
It’s vindication for John Furlong.
In a scathing judgement, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has not tossed out Robinson’s defamation suit against the former Vancouver Olympic boss, but has also taken her to task.
It couldn’t be more decisive.
In a 97-page decision, Madam Justice Catherine Wedge says Robinson’s articles accusing Furlong of abuse when he taught in Burns Lake in the 1960s cannot be fairly characterized as “reporting” but rather “an attack on his character, conduct and credibility.”
Not defamation, but qualified privilege
She says Furlong’s response was not defamation, rather a bona fide response to those allegations, and therefore “qualified privilege.”
In a statement, Furlong says he always knew the truth would prevail.
He says he’s “relieved this nightmare is over” — and now wants to focus on his work in the sports system, and rebuilding his career.”
Robinson says her principles stand
For her part, Robinson says she would have preferred a different result, and can’t comment on the case until she goes through the decision.
She does say she took this case to trial because she believes in freedom of the press.
Furlong had previously sued Robinson and the Georgia Straight, but later dropped the case.