Magno defamation case vs Balita heard in Court

Community News & Features Jan 26, 2018 at 5:08 pm
From left Mila Magno, Consol Gen. Rosalita Prospero and Oswald Magno in a Dr. Raul Sunico concert last year.

From left Mila Magno, Consul Gen. Rosalita Prospero and Oswald Magno in a Dr. Raul Sunico concert last year.

Motion for summary judgement sought by plaintiff

By Mila Astorga-Garcia
The Philippine Reporter

TORONTO–Four and half-years after suing Balita Media Inc., Teresita Cusipag and Romeo Marquez for defamation, Oswald P. Magno’s motion for summary judgement was heard in Ontario Superior Court.

Magno’s motion was heard in the sala of Justice Jane Ferguson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on January 22 and 25, 2018.

A summary judgment motion is a request by a moving party for a Judge to render a decision, based on the available evidence, without going through a formal trial. This was the same approach used by the lawyers of the late Senator Tobias Enverga Jr. in his defamation case against the same defendants, which was resolved in his favor.

Magno was represented by Michael Alexander and David A. Potts, while the defendants were represented by Roy Respicio.

David A. Potts is a libel law specialist. He co-authored the book “Canadian Libel and Slander Actions,” and is the sole author of “Potts on Cyberlibel.”

Magno’s defamation case against the defendants is in relation to 35 articles that allegedly contained defamatory statements that were disseminated via email and published in Balita, in print and online and in social media.

Defense lawyer Respicio put up a defense of “truth, fair comment and responsible communication.” He presented a chronology of e-mails between Magno and Cusipag which he said had started it all.

In a Summary Judgment motion, the possible dispositions are: the judge could grant the motion and render his or her decision later, refuse the motion and order that the case be tried (normally by a jury), or conduct a mini-trial, according to a legal source.

A motion for Summary Judgment is normally granted when the judge finds that there are no issues requiring a trial.

If the case is found fit for summary judgment, the judge’s decision, finally disposing of the case, could be handed down within three to six months depending on the judge’s case load.

Earlier in the hearing, Respicio requested the judge to allow Marquez’s affidavit as evidence. However, the judge refused because it was past the deadline.

Since both parties cannot comment on an ongoing case, at the end of the court hearing, The Philippine Reporter approached both Potts and Respicio for contact information, for the purpose of obtaining their respective statements once the judge’s decision on the summary judgment is handed down.