Ted Hughes seeks injunction against Bill Vander Zalm’s book

Defamation hearing underway in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

A B.C. Supreme Court jury trial is underway in Vancouver to resolve whether former premier Bill Vander Zalm‘s autobiography defames Ted Hughes, the former B.C. conflict of interest commissioner.

In his statement of claim, Hughes charges “the defendant falsely and maliciously published … (statements that were) understood to mean that the plaintiff was self-interested, biased and politically partisan in conducting the Fantasy Gardens Inquiry.”

The passages in question refer back to an inquiry Hughes conducted in 1991. It concluded that Vander Zalm, as premier, had violated conflict-of-interest guidelines and it led to his immediate resignation.

Hughes, who resides in Vic West, seeks a permanent injunction against publishing anymore copies of the book, Bill Vander Zalm for the People.

He filed his statement of claim on Oct. 29, 2010.

In his filed response, Vander Zalm points out that his book was first published in November 2008. More than two years passed “before the plaintiff’s action was filed with this court and as such the plaintiff’s actions are barred by the limitation period,” it continues.

He argues the passages of his book referring to Hughes were taken out of context. “Further all of the comments would be understood by a reasonable person as comments and not imputations of fact.”

The hearing began Jan. 30 at the Vancouver Law Courts. It is scheduled to continue until Feb. 10.