Laura Robinson seeks court order against John Furlong

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Freelance writer Laura Robinson has applied for a judicial order to force former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong to set aside $100,000 as security for costs in a defamation suit.

The application, which was filed by Bryan Baynham of Harper Grey LLP, seeks to have the funds provided in cash or through a letter of credit to the district registrar in B.C. Supreme Court.

It’s scheduled to be heard on Monday (December 9).

“I am concerned that Mr. Furlong will not have assets in British Columbia to pay an award of costs after trial,” Robinson said in a December 3 news release. “Based on a search of the Land Titles Office, Mr. Furlong does not own real property in British Columbia.”

Furlong is suing Robinson for defamation in connection with an article she wrote in the Georgia Straight in September 2012, as well as for an email she sent two months later to Own The Podium, which Furlong chairs. The feature article revealed that Furlong arrived in Burns Lake in 1969 as a missionary and volunteer teacher at a Catholic school with a large aboriginal population.

Eight former students have sworn affidavits alleging that they experienced or witnessed verbal or physical abuse from Furlong. He has publicly declared that this abuse never happened and alleged that Robinson has a “vendetta” against him, which she has denied.

Furlong filed a notice of discontinuance against the Straight in late October but claimed in media interviews at that time that he would “escalate” his action against Robinson.

According to Robinson’s release, Furlong’s lawyers have not filed any documents in court in his case against her since October 11.

Robinson’s news release also points out that her defence “will be very expensive”.

“The costs and disbursements payable by Mr. Furlong, if his action is dismissed, could easily exceed $100,000,” the news release states. “The actual legal fees and disbursements for each party could well be twice that amount.”

Meanwhile, a Laura Robinson Defense Fund (defensefund.org/home.html) has been created for anyone who wishes to contribute to her legal team.

“This case is fundamentally about safe-guarding Freedom of Expression in Canada,” the website states. “Ms. Robinson’s defense is based on Truth and Responsible Journalism, the latter being a much needed defense the Supreme Court of Canada accepted in 2009.”

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