Businessmen brothers Sandy and Robert Shindleman have won their first battle against an Internet blogger who they claim has defamed them.
The Shindlemans were able to get the court to impose an injunction on Gordon Warren Monday, stopping him from writing or communicating about them or their company, Shindico Realty, until their court case against him is settled.
But Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal did not spell out the terms of the injunction, which would restrict what Warren can say about the Shindlemans, until he's conferred with their lawyer on the wording.
"Of course I'm happy to get the injunction, but I just can't believe that we've had to deal with something like this today," the Shindlemans' lawyer, Robert Tapper, said following the Monday-morning court hearing.
Warren has written on his blog, in emails, and on three posters distributed downtown, linking the Shindlemans in an allegedly criminal conspiracy with Mayor Sam Katz and several other local business people, all but one of whom are Jewish.
Warren said he deliberately employed links to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany to draw public attention to his writings but denied his writings are anti-Semitic or hate speech.
Warren, who has a master's degree in theology but no formal training in law, represented himself at the 90-minute hearing and stumbled his way through his arguments.
"I'll never go to court again without a lawyer," Warren said following Joyal's ruling. Warren said he will comply with whatever terms of an injunction Joyal decides to impose.
Warren said he was going to rely on the material Tapper had brought to court and some of the material had wrongly attributed statements to him he never made.
Warren said he was offended anyone would accuse him of being a racist, adding he was never charged with a hate crime and one of the works cited as being anti-Semitic was the English translations from a Jewish holy book, the Talmud.
In bringing down his ruling Monday, Joyal said Warren had offered no evidence to refute the Shindlemans' application for an injunction, and he found much of Warren's writing to be hate speech and racist.
Joyal said while it's important great care be taken before restrictions are placed on freedom of speech, there is little chance Warren could defend himself in the defamation suit based on the writings the Shindlemans had brought to court for the injunction.
"Hate speech... is not subject to the protections afforded by freedom of expression," said Joyal, who said it was ironic he was making his ruling on the day recognized internationally as Holocaust Memorial Day.
Joyal said he wanted the terms of the injunction to stop Warren from linking his racist comments to the Shindlemans, but he was concerned in going too far in his restrictions. Joyal said Warren should be free to write or talk about published news items about the brothers.
Tapper said Warren had improperly linked the Shindleman brothers with corruption and racist and anti-Semitic statements, describing the writing as filth that cannot be tolerated in a democratic society. "I have every suspicion that Mr. Warren is a proud member of the Nazi party," Tapper told the court.
Tapper said Warren's writing are deeply offensive, and the injunction is needed to "shut him up."