Nanaimo courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)

Lantzville citizen counter-suing councillor who alleged privacy breach

Clinton Smith files response and counter-claim following Coun. Karen Proctor’s lawsuit

The Lantzville citizen who was sued by a councillor after he allegedly monitored her communications on a cellphone she gave him has filed a counter-suit.

Clinton Smith responded this week to a civil claim filed by District of Lantzville Coun. Karen Proctor, and also filed his own counter-claim in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo.

A little over a month ago, Proctor sued Smith, alleging that she gave him an old cellphone with the understanding that he would be giving it to a person experiencing homelessness. Instead, Proctor claims Smith kept the phone, used it to access her personal e-mails and other correspondence and shared screenshots via social media.

RELATED: Lantzville councillor sues over privacy breach after her old phone was allegedly monitored

Smith, in his response to the claim, denied all Proctor’s allegations, saying he was never asked to “wipe” or reset the cellphone and that it was given to him with “no conditions attached.”

Smith also denies he breached Proctor’s privacy and denies he shared private information with third parties or online.

Smith’s response says even if he did access, share or publish information concerning the plaintiff, which he denies, he “asserts that it was publicly accessible information by way of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act … as the plaintiff … was a city councillor and public figure; as such, her texts, chats and e-mails are public domain” and a matter of public interest.

Smith’s counter-claim references a “defamatory post” Proctor made on her Facebook page regarding the incident. Smith says Proctor’s post accuses him of breaking a promise and lying to her and infers that he is a promise-breaker and a liar.

“Each of the inferential meanings is false, malicious and defamatory of and concerning the defendant,” the counter-claim argues.

Smith says in his counter-claim that he has been “greatly injured in his character, credit and personal reputation.” He seeks damages, and is also asking for injunctions calling for Proctor to remove the post he says is defamatory and prevent her from further comment on the matter.

Proctor said in an e-mail to the News Bulletin that she’s looking forward to the case being dealt with in court.

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