Writer suing John Furlong for defamation sets up legal defence fund
The freelance journalist behind an explosive exposé on previously unknown facts about the early life of 2010 Olympics head John Furlong is dealing with huge legal bills.
According to Laura Robinson, she has an outstanding tab as of April 30 this year of about $160,000 in connection with the defamation countersuit she filed against Furlong.
That doesn’t cover expenses in May leading up to and including the trial of her suit against the former Vancouver Olympics CEO, which started on June 15.
“It’s a massively expensive undertaking,” Robinson told the Straight during an interview at B.C. Supreme Court. The Ontario writer is being represented by Bryan Baynham of the Harper Grey law office.
In her testimony on June 16, Robinson said she spent $150,000 to defend against a defamation suit filed by Furlong, one that he eventually dropped. He also discontinued a similar lawsuit against the Georgia Straight.
Robinson authored a story headlined “John Furlong biography omits secret past in Burns Lake”, which was published in the Straight on September 27, 2012. The article reported that he arrived in the northern B.C. town in 1969 as a Christian missionary—not in 1974, as he wrote in his memoir Patriot Hearts—and that he allegedly taunted and physically hurt First Nations students he taught as a gym teacher at the former Immaculata Elementary School.
Robinson has set up a fund and a website (laurarobinsondefensefund.org) to seek the public’s help in her legal battle with Furlong, who sits on the boards of various organizations. “People I’ve never met and don’t know are being very generous, sending donations,” she said.
She has accused Furlong of defaming her after the publication of her article by attacking her as a dishonest and incompetent journalist.
“I’ve been doing a few speaking engagements, very few, and the other thing is I’m also working hard on this trial,” Robinson said. “My time that I would have been writing or speaking is taken up with research and working with the really fine legal team at Harper Grey.”
Robinson added: “If people believe in freedom of expression and believe that journalism writers need to tell difficult stories, I hope they’ll support me.”
Jun 24, 2015 at 11:40am
Hahaha. It's a "defense fund" even though she is the plaintiff.
Jun 24, 2015 at 12:24pm
I suggest a donation of $1 because that is how much she going to recover at trial
Jun 24, 2015 at 9:07pm
On the balance, she would appear to be mostly right, and he mostly wrong. Very clearly. Stupid comments all over the place. But I'm just some old moron.
Jun 25, 2015 at 10:56am
"I'm just some old moron." ... well, honesty is a virtue, so you've got that going for you.
And just in case you haven't been paying attention, she's quite likely to lose. Her lawyer hasn't proved anything, other than he knows how to rack up the billable hours.
Jun 25, 2015 at 11:05am
This is a classic White wash by a popular and powerful man who is trying to cover-up his passed .
There are many affidavits signed regarding Furlongs alleged abuses .
Evidence shows children where abused by Furlong .
The Edmonton RCMP suggested a full investigation of all abuse claims and this still has not been done .
So whats the problem ?
Jun 25, 2015 at 11:11am
This is not a "defence fund" Ms. Robinson but your financial state does give us some indication of why Furlong dropped his suit against you: you couldn't pay his costs let alone any damages. Why bother suing someone without any money?
Jun 25, 2015 at 11:17am
From a few column inches above your comment:
"In her testimony on June 16, Robinson said she spent $150,000 to defend against a defamation suit filed by Furlong"
But who bothers to actually read the article they comment on, right?
Jun 25, 2015 at 4:27pm
Thank God we're about 14 minutes into her 15 minutes of fame. Bye!