Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Reporter Loses Bid to Force Former Olympic CEO to Put Up Security in Libel Case

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Reporter Loses Bid to Force Former Olympic CEO to Put Up Security in Libel Case

Article excerpt

Reporter loses step in Furlong libel case


VANCOUVER - A reporter who wrote an article alleging former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong abused students while teaching in northern British Columbia has lost a bid to force Furlong to put up a $100,000 security in his libel suit against her.

Laura Robinson, who is being sued over the article published in the Georgia Straight newspaper last year, argued the security was needed to ensure Furlong would be able to pay if he eventually loses the case.

But a B.C. Supreme Court judge concluded Robinson failed to prove Furlong lacks the means to pay or that his lawsuit is frivolous.

"There is a genuine issue in this case as to whether the plaintiff was damaged by the article and, if so, whether the defences raised by the defendant will be made out," Judge Gordon Weatherill told lawyers for both sides on Tuesday.

"The action is neither trivial nor frivolous."

Robinson's failed application is the latest development in what has become an increasingly hostile fight between a freelance journalist and the man who became the public face of the 2010 Winter Games.

Robinson's article, published in September 2012, quoted several people who claimed to have been verbally and physically abused while Furlong taught physical education at schools in Burns Lake, B.C., and Prince George, B.C., in the late 1960s and early '70s.

Furlong denied any wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against Robinson, condemning her as a reckless activist bent on destroying his career.

The Georgia Straight was originally named as a defendant, but earlier this year Furlong dropped the newspaper from the case and is instead focusing his efforts on Robinson.

Robinson has included additional allegations involving Furlong's former wives in subsequent court filings, prompting Furlong to accuse her of abusing the court process.

None of the allegations against Furlong or Robinson have been tested in court, and this week's hearings did not specifically address Furlong's libel claim. …

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