Rae Denies Malice: Closing Remarks in Defamation Suit
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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