John Furlong drops defamation lawsuit against Georgia Straight contributor Laura Robinson

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      The former CEO of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, John Furlong, has told reporters today that he will not proceed with a lawsuit against freelance writer Laura Robinson.

      With great fanfare and massive publicity, Furlong sued Robinson and the Georgia Straight in November 2012 for an article that had appeared two months earlier.

      Robinson subsequently filed her own defamation suit against Furlong in January 2014 for allegedly impugning her character in several public statements in connection with her article and her filings in court.

      "I look forward to my June 15, 2015 court date," Robinson said in a written statement today.

      Furlong said he was dropping his action after a B.C. Supreme Court judge had thrown out the third and final civil suit against him filed by First Nations people in connection with his actions as a teacher at a Roman Catholic elementary school in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

      Furlong said that the court's ruling brings an end to his "unimaginable nightmare". Robinson, however, maintained that her lawsuit has never been about the three cases that were dismissed in court.

      John Furlong (left) announced his intention to sue the Georgia Straight on September 27, 2012.
      Stephen Hui

      She also stated that when the Georgia Straight article was published in 2012, she was not aware of the allegations of two of the plaintiffs.

      The original story, which was supported by eight sworn affidavits, made no allegations of sexual abuse, unlike news reports broadcast later in the same week by News 1130, CBC, and CTV. The latter two broadcasts came after Furlong had raised the issue in a news conference attacking the truth of the Georgia Straight article.

      Furlong never sued News 1130, CBC, or CTV for defamation.

      "I feel that the dropping of Mr. Furlong's lawsuit against me today is recognition that my reporting on the serious allegations was responsible and appropriate," Robinson stated. "My suit is about an attack on my integrity and professional conduct as a journalist."

      In October 2013, Furlong filed a notice of discontinuance in his lawsuit against the Georgia Straight.

      Comments

      13 Comments

      Hogwash

      Mar 31, 2015 at 1:58pm

      The story is the collapse of the legal cases against Furlong and even though he has dropped this suit the "journalist" is on very shaky ground. Perhaps she could look into the current mayor of Vancouver and his shenanigans, after all he actually lost in court.

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      danr^2

      Mar 31, 2015 at 2:54pm

      [re-post. forgot to add my name at the top]

      "I feel that the dropping of Mr. Furlong's lawsuit against me today is recognition that my reporting on the serious allegations..."

      Sad case. She sees herself as another Robyn Dolittle. Even at the time it was pretty evident those were some very dodgy allegations. If she persists in this nonsense, she will find everything she ever said about the case, and those 'serious' allegations, will be brought up for analysis, both before the courts and before press councils.

      But that's OK. She and her apologists can cherry-pick the results to their hearts content and parade the the most covenient of them before the more sympathetic media ears. There's certainly no lack of the latter.

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      out at night

      Mar 31, 2015 at 3:03pm

      Looks like Mr. Furlong could see the writing on the wall.

      The sexual abuse allegations were never part of the Georgia Straight article and yet they became quite entwined in his public relations campaign against the journalist. The fact that these sexual abuse allegations have gone away has no bearing on the physical and verbal abuse allegations made in Ms. Robinson's article and I hope that the dropping of Mr. Furlong's case will perhaps go some way towards separating these two issues in the public's minds.

      I can certainly understand why many people would confuse the two matters, especially in light of Furlong's obfuscations, but if anyone should feel vindicated today it's Ms. Robinson. I really hope that she can continue to clarify the matter in open court and that our media will report responsibly on those proceedings.

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      Allen GG

      Mar 31, 2015 at 4:27pm

      John Furlong has erred, tragically. He should persue the suit against Laura Robinson, and it will not be the first time she has faced a court. Ms Robinson has a history of attempting to create situations and other people become ensnared, ask the Globe and Mail.
      Lawsuits are a terrible emotional and financial drain, so understandably Furlong wanted to opt out, but Ms. Robinson is persistent, therefore Furlong has no choice but to continue his suit against her.
      Note that she is seeking funds fron the general public to counter this suit and she will persist.
      Lets hope that justice prevails.

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      BDD

      Mar 31, 2015 at 6:14pm

      I understand Laura Robinson is a freelance writer and could likely use a little more publicity...but this whole thing looks bad for her, and by extension the Straight. Let it go...

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      TCG

      Mar 31, 2015 at 6:34pm

      I've been disgusted by the way Mr. Furlong has tried to confuse and influence the public discussion with the help of his PR and media friends. Ms Robinson should be applauded for her bravery in pursuing this story and for the way she has managed herself and continued to redirect to the real issues while being attacked by Mr. Furlong and his hired help. I expect he will try to settle. I hope she says no.

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      John P. Disappointed

      Mar 31, 2015 at 7:43pm

      What a sad woman. This poor man was wrongly persecuted. Show some empathy.

      Karma....

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      ByGumby

      Mar 31, 2015 at 8:30pm

      Furlong dropped the case against Robinson because he has no case. She will win her suit against him if it goes ahead although I suspect somewhere soon down the road he will attempt to settle.

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      Sad situation on many fronts

      Mar 31, 2015 at 11:14pm

      It's funny how this is the first Straight article in a very long time regarding mr furlong - where was the story when it first came put last week?? It glosses over the way it smeared mr furlong and the paper continues to be in denial that their free lance "journalist" was in the wrong. I think GS should issue an apology to Mr Furlong and maybe then the paper can restore some of it's respect. This "journalist " continues to play the victim card - but only the most delusional GS readers are buying it.

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      Martin Dunphy

      Apr 1, 2015 at 12:04am

      Sad:

      The recent news about a case (not a charge) of sexual abuse against John Furlong being dismissed—as well as two others no longer before the courts (and after the lawyer involved with all three applied to withdraw)—has nothing to do with either the Georgia Straight or contributor Laura Robinson.
      The 2012 story that originally appeared in the Straight made NO mention of sexual abuse, although various other media outlets negligently or mistakenly did so.
      With coast-to-coast publicity, John Furlong sued the Georgia Straight and Laura Robinson in 2012. About a year later, with little fanfare, he quietly backed off the Straight legal action. Now he has dropped his lawsuit against the writer of the article that appeared in the Straight.

      I will not express an opinion as to why Furlong took these actions. Instead, I will leave it to our readers to ask themselves that question. I believe it shouldn't take too long to arrive at an answer.

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