No legal-fee reprieve for victorious salmon-farming critic censured by judge

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VANCOUVER - A notorious salmon-farming critic who recently won a defamation case in B.C. Supreme Court has been rebuked financially for his conduct during the same trial.

Don Staniford was taken to court earlier this year by the salmon farming firm Mainstream Canada over a 2011 campaign that included images of cigarette packages with statements that read "Salmon Farming Kills Like Smoking."

In September, Justice Elaine Adair ruled in favour of Staniford's defence of fair comment, saying that while his statements were defamatory and he was motivated by malice, the activist honestly believed in what he was saying.

While Mainstream is appealing that decision, Adair has now ruled on costs and has censured Staniford for his "open disrespect for witnesses and disdain for the court and the judicial process."

She says Staniford mocked the physical appearances of witnesses, accused a First Nation band of taking "blood money," compared the trial to a "kangaroo court," and relaunched his website campaign using a service provider outside of Canada.

The court usually awards costs to the party considered the winner in the case, but Adair has awarded Staniford only 25 per cent of his costs and ordered him to pay Mainstream $8,300 for court fees.

Organizations: B.C. Supreme Court, Mainstream Canada

Geographic location: VANCOUVER, Canada

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