Dad in Facebook bullying case speaks out
A Nova Scotia man whose daughter was allegedly defamed on a phony Facebook page spoke publicly for the first time Friday and said his family has a tough decision to make if they want to learn who created the page.
The man cannot be identified because his daughter's name is protected by a publication ban.
The father told CBC News that one evening last year, his daughter was on the computer in their kitchen, checking Facebook. She became upset and started to cry, and he walked over to find out what she was looking at.
He said someone had created a phony Facebook profile in her name and allegedly posted defamatory comments.
"It was bad, it was really bad. Someone to do that? It was a little bit demented but it was bad," he said.
"She is a child, you know. Crying, wondering why someone would do that. As far as she's concerned she has no enemies, she gets along with everybody. Who would be so rude, who would be so cruel?"
The man went to the RCMP and he said he was told the Mounties believed the case was too expensive to pursue. He hired a lawyer and went to court to try to find out the identity of the person who created the Facebook page.
Last May, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge approved a court order requiring EastLink — the internet service provider — to reveal the identity of the customer who posted the comments.
At the same time, the judge denied a request to ban the media from reporting the girl's name and any details from the page, which is now defunct. That means if the family wants the identity of the person who created the page, the daughter's name must be revealed.
The father has maintained that allowing the media to identify the girl would only cause further harm.
The family appealed the Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision and the publication ban was kept in place pending the outcome of that appeal.
In March, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld the ruling and said the media should be allowed to report the name of the teenaged girl, but maintained the publication ban on the girl's name and the alleged offending comments for another 60 days while the family decides what to do.
In the appeal court's written judgment, Justice Jamie Saunders said the family initiated legal proceedings and chose "to participate in a public forum where the trial may be attended by an interested public, and reported on by a free and independent press."
The family has until the beginning of May to decide if they will take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada or if they will reveal the girl's name and learn the identity of the creator of the Facebook page.
"We've talked about it. Ultimately this decision is going to be hers. I don't think she needs to go through any more hurt," said the man.
He said he has already sold property to pay for legal fees, and the family has not decided whether to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
"I think if we go there, my daughter and I have to sit down and talk about the reasons we're going to go there."
The father said despite the emotional toll and the financial cost, the fight is worth it.
"Hopefully, if we do go there, maybe we'll save a life of a child. Maybe we can convince a child to pick up the telephone, ask for help, make a difference. If you can save one child's life that's being bullied, I think it's well worth it."