Court rejects Christian activist's $11M claim against judges as 'abuse of process'

Kari Simpson had asked for a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of her unsuccessful defamation claim against the late radio host Rafe Mair.

Kari Simpson sued multiple levels of the justice system over handling of defamation claim against Rafe Mair

Kari Simpson spoke against B.C.'s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program last fall. (Culture Guard)

A right-wing Fraser Valley activist's bid for an $11-million payout from multiple levels of the Canadian justice system over the outcome of a 15-year-old defamation suit has been dismissed as an "abuse of process."

Kari Simpson, who described herself as a "respected Christian social activist" in a B.C. Supreme Court filing, had asked for a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of her unsuccessful defamation suit against the late radio host Rafe Mair.

Justice David Crossin struck Simpson's latest claim in its entirety last month, ordering her to pay costs to the defendants, who include the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the now-deceased former chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court and the attorneys general of both Canada and British Columbia.

"The proceeding at bar amounts to an abuse of process," Crossin wrote in the Feb. 27 judgment.

"The claim as a whole, in essence, seeks to either re-litigate matters decided in the defamation action and/or attack the integrity of the decision makers in relation to that matter."

Longtime B.C. broadcaster Rafe Mair died last year. (UBC)

The convoluted history of this legal battle dates all the way back to 1999, when Mair criticized Simpson in a radio editorial, calling her a bigot and making references to Nazi Germany and the Ku Klux Klan.

At the time, Simpson was campaigning against books depicting gay couples being available in Surrey schools.

She filed a defamation suit against Mair in 2003, a claim that eventually landed in the Supreme Court of Canada. In a landmark 2008 ruling, the justices of Canada's highest court rejected Simpson's claim, ordered her to pay costs and expanded the defences available to people accused of defamation.

Allegations of judicial negligence

A decade later, Simpson has attempted to reopen the matter by filing a new claim alleging she was the victim of, among other things, "breach of duty, dereliction of duty, fraud upon the court, malfeasance, malice."

The sprawling, 26-page claim was filed in December and alleges that now-retired B.C. Supreme Court justice Mary Marvin Koenigsberg was unfit to hear the original defamation case and that the judge defamed Simpson in her reasons for rejecting the lawsuit.

Simpson also alleged that the late B.C. Supreme Court chief justice Donald Brenner was negligent in allowing Koenigsberg to hear the case, and that Beverley McLachlin, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, should have ordered an investigation into the lower court judge.

Simpson claimed that she is "terrorized daily by the financial assault targeted against her" by the Supreme Court's decision to order her to pay costs in the defamation case.

Former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin was named in Simpson's suit. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

In the words of Justice David Crossin, Simpson's suit asked for a "panoply of remedies" for the harms she alleged she suffered, remedies that span two full pages of the claim.

They include more than $11 million in damages, formal apologies and an order that the federal justice minister "inform all Canadian law schools and media that the administration of justice failed to uphold and protect the rights of the plaintiff."

In his February judgment, Crossin wrote that "the relief sought in these paragraphs are not available as a matter of law."

'Completely baseless' claims

Crossin said he was dismissing the claims against the judges named in Simpson's suit because they are all protected by judicial immunity.

"In addition, and in any event, on the face of the pleadings the allegations are completely baseless. There are no material facts pled that remotely support a cause of action," Crossin wrote.

He went on to say that Simpson's suit includes "no reasonable claim against any named defendant."

Simpson, who represented herself in the lawsuit, has not responded to requests for comment on the judgment. The exact amount of the costs she has been ordered to pay has yet to be determined.

Simpson continues to campaign against the inclusion of LGBT-related teaching materials in schools. Most recently, she has lobbied against B.C.'s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program (SOGI), which directs schools to recognize sexual orientation and gender identity in their anti-bullying programs.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.