The town council of Aurora, Ontario has voted to make a formal apology to bloggers who were on the receiving side of a meritless defamation lawsuit brought by then-mayor Phyllis Morris in her official capacity.
The council’s motion, which passed 6-2, provided:
THAT the Mayor on behalf of Council, be authorized to issue a formal apology to those named in the action and to the community at large stating our commitment to freedom of speech and our regret that the Town of Aurora was ever associated with a SLAPP action … (Town Council Minutes [pdf])
Kudos to the members of the town council who voted in favor of the apology to bloggers Bill Hogg, Richard Johnson, and Elizabeth Bishhenden.
Councillor Michael Thompson, who, made the motion, explained his concept of responsibility: “There will be some who will say we are not the ones who should apologise because we did not create it, but this Council is now the ones who are responsible and accountable to this Town. Whether we create or inherit an issue, it is our role to act upon, if needed. In this case, I believe in the simple principle when you are wrong, do the right thing, admit it, and make amends where possible.”
One of the no votes was one of the people who had reason to take direct responsibility. Councillor John Gallo was one of the original votes on September 14, 2010 to hire outside council to pursue the bloggers. And Gallo was the lone vote against the council’s action to stop funding the legal campaign after the rest of the town council came to their senses.
- The Auroran, Brock Weir: Council issues apology to sued bloggers
- Yorkregion.com, Chris Simon: Aurora to apologize for lawsuit
Prior coverage on Blog Law Blog:
- January 13th, 2011: Town in Ontario Stops Footing Legal Bills for Blog Lawsuit
- October 26th, 2011: It’s Over in Aurora: Ex-Mayor in Ontario Gives Up on Lawsuit Against Blog
- October 29th, 2012: Former Mayor Must Pay $21,275 in Bloggers’ Legal Bills
Thanks to vindicated blogger/defendant Richard Johnson for sending in the tip on this.