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Blogger found in contempt of court; judge says original order was clear

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Blogger Gordon Warren edged closer to jail Wednesday afternoon after he was found in contempt of court.

Chief Justice Glenn Joyal said he was satisfied that Warren had deliberately, and repeatedly, violated the terms of an injunction he had issued April 8 that prohibited Warren from writing on his blog or in any other format about businessmen brothers Sandy and Robert Shindleman, their character or their business interests.

"(Warren) did indeed disobey what he knew were the parameters of my order," Joyal said.

But Joyal also decided to give Warren the summer to clean up his act before deciding if he’s going to jail. Joyal will make that decision August 28.

The Shindlemans want Joyal to sentence Warren to 6 months in jail and to seize his computer for violating the injunction.

For the first time, Warren was represented in court by a lawyer, Gary Stern.

The injunction is part of the Shindlemans' defamation suit against Warren, who has repeatedly alleged that the brothers are involved in a criminal conspiracy with Mayor Sam Katz and several other local business people -- all but one who are Jewish -- to steal money from city hall through a series of allegedly improper land deals.

Warren is also being sued for defamation by a local marketing agency, its owner and employees, after Warren alleged they were involved in an improper campaign to sell and lease several civic golf courses. That company also obtained an injunction against Warren.

Warren had argued that, without a lawyer, he didn’t understand the complete meaning of Joyal’s order and hadn’t received a written copy until late May.

Joyal said his original order of April 8 was clear. Warren had continued to blog about the brothers, though not identifying them by name, and had links to other sites that mentioned the Shindlemans and to one site that had a photograph of a controversial poster that Warren had created that named the Shindlemans and the other business people.

"While some of (Warren’s) references and comments (on his blog post April 8) were more indirect and more oblique than previously.... I have no difficulty in finding that such postings were an attempt to frustrate my order," Joyal said. "They were attempts at commenting, sometimes in a racist way, upon the business affairs and character of the Shindlemans."

Warren left the court without making any comments.

 

aldo.santin@freepree.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 5:53 PM CDT: Adds date of decision.

June 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM: Updates with further comments from judge

July 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM: An earlier version of this story included a description of Warren's statements at the centre of the defamation suit brought against him by Sandy and Robert Shindleman. The Free Press did not intend to suggest Warren's statements were true. Warren filed no statement of defence to the Shindleman claim and was noted in default.

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