Ryerson radio wins two-year slander suit

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Carolyn Yurgeon
Eyeopener (Ryerson University)

TORONTO (CUP) — Ryerson University’s campus radio station was awarded $1,200 in legal costs on March 3 when a slander case against them was dismissed.

John Lennon, a main shareholder in a local entertainment publishing company John Headley Lennon Music Limited, brought forward the case against CKLN.

“In our view, it was frivolous,” said Andrew Lehrer, vice-chair and secretary of CKLN’s board.

“I think the court agrees with us because they sided with us. It took two years, and we’ve had four court cases this year alone.”

According to a contract, CKLN was supposed to give away tickets to shows and air advertisements for the company in late 2008.

Lennon claimed his company received calls from listeners, mentioning that on Sept. 12, 2008 the company’s advertisement was followed by a negative comment from the announcer.

His goal was to collect $10,000 in damages for the loss of customers caused by on-air slander.

“We believe they are responsible for the duty of their business,” Lennon told the judge on Feb. 16, the second last court date.

Lehrer started his position in August 2009 and said there was no record of a request from Lennon for the radio episodes in which the alleged slander occurred until the month before he arrived.

Lehrer, in his defence, cited the Canadian Radio and Television Communication Act, which says that stations are only required to keep “logger tapes” of broadcasts for the previous four weeks.

“My understanding is that we were only required to keep them for 30 days and the first letter arrived just over that,” Lehrer had told the court.

The case was postponed again as Lennon had failed to file a tape he brought as proof.

In the final court session, it was declared that Lennon had no evidence that he had suffered any damages.

“It’s been more a nuisance than anything else, having to go to court and taking time off of work,” said Lehrer.

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