Surrey businessman, and former council candidate, Brian Young has amended his response to a libel action against him, Pulse FM has learned.
On June 3, this year, Bob Cheema, a Vancouver businessman and architect of Mayor Doug McCallum’s successful municipal campaign, launched a libel action against Young.
The claim, obtained by Pulse FM, alleges that Young, using the Twitter name @YoungOneSurrey, “falsely and maliciously published statements about the plaintiff on Twitter.”
The tweets cited in the Notice of Claim include one on May 7 at 7:25 a.m. stating: “BOB CHEEMA – Doug thanked him in his acceptance speech. 1 of 3 people he thanked. Bob is making huge $$$ now as you know. #surreybc #backroombob #bobanddoug”
Young’s Response to Civil Claim was filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on June 24.
That response, also obtained by Pulse FM, states that the above tweet relied on the mayor’s acceptance speech, where he publicly thanked Cheema.
It also states that Cheema told Young “he’s only in the back room, hence #backroombob.”
The Response to the Civil Claim also states that the tweet was “not capable of being defamatory” to Cheema, a position a new response is omitting.
The amended Response to Civil Claim strikes several previous references that the “the words complained about it the tweet constituted injurious falsehood,” and that the “tweet was not capable of being defamatory.”
The amended response to civil claim instead argues that the offending tweets were “fair comment” and constituted “qualified privilege.”
Fair comment, while it may be defamatory, is not actionable, as it is opinion on a matter of public interest.
Qualified privilege is a statement made honestly and without malice in the discharge of their moral or legal obligation.
Young left in his response a claim that Cheema told him “he controlled South Asian media by paying hosts to report his stories,” and that “he was paying cleaning staff at Surrey City hall to retrieve items from the councilors garbage.”
None of the claims in either the civil claim, or the Young’s response, have been proven in court.
Pulse FM called Young for a response, but has did not hear back from him by the time of posting. Cheema has previously declined comment on this story, noting that he never offers comment publicly.
A court date has not yet been scheduled.