Altaf Nazerali Wins Internet Libel Case Against Patrick Byrne, Deep Capture, and Mark Mitchell
VANCOUVER, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Following a lengthy five-year battle, Vancouver entrepreneur, Altaf Nazerali, was awarded a $1.2 million judgment, the highest such award in British Columbia history, and one of the highest in Canada, stemming from a series of articles that were published in 2011 on an American website DeepCapture.com, targeting Mr. Nazerali in an effort to destroy his reputation.
BC Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck ruled last Friday against the defendants publisher Patrick Byrne, CEO of online retailer Overstock.com, the website Deep Capture LLC, and the author Mark Mitchell. The Justice awarded Mr. Nazerali, $400,000 in general damages, $500,000 in aggravated damages, $250,000 in punitive damages and $55,000 in special damages.
In his 102-page ruling, Justice Affleck concluded, "Mitchell, Byrne and Deep Capture LLC engaged in a calculated and ruthless campaign to inflict as much damage on Mr. Nazerali's reputation as they could achieve." "It is clear on the evidence that their intention was to conduct a vendetta in which the truth about Mr. Nazerali himself was of no consequence." He went on to say, "not only are the defamatory words pleaded by the plaintiff damaging to his reputation, these defendants, instead of choosing to tone down their extravagant language once they were sued, chose to pile on the abuse with a narrative of multiple allegations of serious misconduct."
The defendants were also permanently banned from publishing on the internet any of the defamatory material. Judge Affleck denounced Mitchell and Byrne's actions, stating they demonstrated "an indecent and pitiless desire to wound". He stated the injunction was necessary because the American-based defendants acted with malice.
The articles falsely portrayed Mr. Nazerali as having links to al-Qaida, relationships with the Russian and Italian Mafias and further described him as a gangster, arms dealer and drug trafficker.
"The experience was devastating for myself and my family, my personal health was compromised and my business savaged," Nazerali stated, "It's the court of public opinion which is the most important. You damage someone's reputation through the Internet, it doesn't matter whether you are in Timbuktu or Salt Lake City or Chicago."
"It's been a long time coming and hopefully now I can go on to do what I do best, which is run my businesses."
For a full copy of Justice Affleck's decision, click here.
SOURCE Aly Nazerali