Coun. Sam Waddington at the Sept. 4 city council meeting defending his expenses for national conferences and Federation of Canadian Municipalities board meetings. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

B.C. mayoral candidate files defamation suit over sexual assault accusations

Chilliwack city councillor calls posts on Facebook ‘malicious, high-handed, callous, and arrogant’

Chilliwack mayoral candidate Sam Waddington has filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who publicly accused him of being a “sexual assault perpetrator.”

Waddington’s civil claim filed in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Sept. 26 is against Jody Beugeling for a post she made on a Facebook page on Sept. 13.

The post, which is included in the civil claim in the statement of facts section, calls him “power hungry” and “privileged” and Beugeling expresses her anger that Waddington allegedly sexually assaulted an unnamed woman.

“I believe his victim and I will make sure as many people as possible know what he did,” the post reads in part.

“Sam Waddington your #timesup.”

In the claim filed by his lawyer Peter Thornton, the “defamatory words” are said to lower Waddington’s reputation “in the estimation of reasonable members of society.”

“As a result of the publication of the Defamatory Words and the repetitions, republications, and rebroadcasts of the Defamatory Words, the Plaintiff has been injured in his feelings, in his personal and professional character and reputation, and in his office and business,” the claim states. “The Plaintiff has also suffered personal embarrassment and humiliation as a result of the publication of the Defamatory Words.”

The claim calls Beugeling’s conduct “malicious, high-handed, callous, and arrogant,” stating the words “displayed a wanton and flagrant disregard for the Plaintiff.”

Waddington is seeking punitive and aggravated damages, although the amounts are not listed in the claim.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack lawyer talks defamation during the municipal election

Waddington told The Progress Tuesday that these same claims came up four years ago when he first ran for city council

“Such allegations are a complete fabrication and I have taken steps to assert my legal rights in regards to this defamation of my character,” he said, adding that he went so far as to pay $500 to take a polygraph, which confirmed the allegations are untrue.

Waddington asserts that given the timing of the allegations, as with the discussion at city council about his expenses, the sexual assault allegation is political in nature, meant to hijack his campaign.

• READ MORE: Waddington expense claims being sent to the RCMP

”Unfortunately, it is now clear to me that, contrary to their agreement to do so four years ago, the individuals making these allegations have not ceased their defamation of my character,” he said in a statement. “Furthermore, it is clear that their motivations for doing so are political in nature, given the fact that these allegations only surfaced again when I announced my candidacy for Mayor of Chilliwack.”

Beugeling told The Progress she was unable to comment on the civil claim filed against her at this time.

He said that on the advice of legal counsel he will not be publicly speaking about the allegations further.

In a story posted on The Progress website just a day before this lawsuit was filed, Chilliwack lawyer Brian Vickers warned of about the dangers of flippant behaviour on social media and the risk of defamation lawsuits.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack lawyer talks defamation during the municipal election

“A lot of people don’t know how rough it can be if you go posting on Facebook,” Vickers said in an interview. “Especially if you have assets.”

Presumably, the defendant in the Waddington case will have to use the defence of truth and/or fair comment.

“Be very careful,” Vickers told The Progress when asked what advice he has for those making controversial social media posts. “Only report things with facts that they can verify, and make sure those facts are put out on whatever they are saying…. Even the defence of fair comment is not available to a comment based on facts that are untrue or misstated.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

Coastal GasLink prepares sites of construction work camps

Unist’ot’en condemn 14 ‘man camps’ housing 500-800 workers as threatening safety of women and children

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Most Read