Last edited: December 18, 2004

Rae Denies Malice: Closing Remarks in Defamation Suit

Toronto Sun, June 18, 2002
Sun Media Corporation, 333 King St. E., Toronto, Ontario M5A 3X5 Canada

By Gretchen Drummie, Courts Bureau

Councillor Kyle Rae crossed the line between carrying out his public duty and "abusing his power" when he called cops who raided the Pussy Palace 2000 "rogues" and "cowboys," a police lawyer told jurors yesterday in his closing address.

And Michael Freeman said Rae should be held accountable for his words. But Raeís lawyer, John Holding, said that as a politician the councillor enjoys a "qualified privilege" to speak on matters of public concern unless thereís proof of malice.

Holding said there was no malice. In fact, he told the jury Rae "honestly held those opinions and still does." He said Raeís motive was protection of the interests of the community he represents.

Rae is being sued for defamation by seven Toronto police officers who conducted a liquor licence inspection of the lesbian bathhouse. Rae branded them "renegades" on a "panty raid."

Freeman said, "Itís one thing to use colourful language to get attention. Itís another to use it to incite, to instil fear, hatred and contempt ... Police officers have the right to carry out their duties without fear a public official will humiliate them."

He said Raeís words "were made maliciously" with "ill will and spite" and having ulterior purposes including to enhance his own reputation on the eve of an election.

Freeman noted one-third of Raeís voters are gay and lesbian.

But Holding said there was no political motive, noting Rae was acclaimed and had previously shown himself to be immune to political pressure.

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