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Woods sues Annable for online remark

Cliff Annable and Margaret Woods  - File photos
Cliff Annable and Margaret Woods
— image credit: File photos

Former White Rock councillor Margaret Woods is suing political adversary Cliff Annable for calling her a “git” in a comment posted on the Peace Arch News website last September.

In a written claim filed Dec. 21 in the Vancouver B.C. Supreme Court registry, Woods demands an unspecified amount of compensation over the remarks, which were posted Sept. 23 by Annable using the pseudonym “charleymike.”

In the online statement, posted as a comment to a PAN story, Annable asked whether another anonymous comment was the work of Woods’ spouse.

“Are you Mr. Dickinson the husband of Margaret Woods (the git from Glasgow), who is always negative and against everything,” the posting said.

In October, Annable admitted to the newspaper that he was the author of that comment.

Annable said two other comments posted by “charleymike” – one on Oct. 15 promoting Annable’s reputation, and another on Oct. 6 casting disparaging remarks against another person were not made by him.

In her lawsuit, Woods says after Annable confirmed he wrote the Sept. 23 statements, her lawyer contacted him and demanded an apology and retraction of the remarks.

She says Annable has refused to date to do either. Woods’ claim states that Annable also repeated the remarks in “various online postings, conversations or emails to other persons...”

According to Woods’ lawsuit, the use of the word and the other comments in the posting were defamatory because they implied that Woods was “a foolish or worthless person ... always negative in her approach to issues ... not of good character (and) is a buffoon and otherwise ought to be ridiculed...”

The lawsuit goes on to say that “by reason of the publication and widespread distribution of the defamatory posting and the defamatory statements (Woods) has been greatly injured in her reputation and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.”

Woods’ lawyer is applying for an order forbidding Annable from repeating those remarks and a yet-to-be-determined amount of money in general, aggravated, punitive and special damages.

The claim, as filed in the Vancouver court registry, contains statements that have not been proven in court.

Annable, a former councillor, sought a return to office in the Nov. 19 civic election, but lost.

Monday (Jan. 16) Annable said he was limited in what he could say because the matter is before the court, but that he would be filing a statement of defence.

The issue of politicians making comments under pseudonyms also surfaced during the 2008 White Rock civic election.

Veteran councillor James Coleridge was forced to vacate the seat he won in that election less than a year later, after a B.C. Supreme Court judge found he had lied to taxpayers when he said he did not know the source of a pre-election email terming opponents a “real estate slate.”

Coleridge – first elected in 1983 – didn’t come clean about where the email came from or who wrote it – even after being confronted with evidence that linked it to his computer – until the court case.

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