Internet Law

Canadian Lawyer Told to Hand Over Computer Used to Create False Online Personas

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A crusading Canadian human rightslawyer has been ordered to turn over a laptop computer he used to create false personas on far-right websites to search for evidence that he may have secretly authored a racist comment against a black Canadian senator from Toronto.

The ruling came in a libel suit lawyer Richard Warman has filed against free-speech activist Ezra Levant, who has criticized an analysis done by an expert Warman hired who concluded that Warman was not the author of the racist posting, according to a report Friday in the National Post.

An Ontario judge ordered Warman to hand over his computer so an independent expert can search the hard drive for a list of words taken from the racist comment, which was posted on in 2003 by a person identified as 90sAREover.

The ruling does not identify the target of the slur nor cite its racist language. But the Post says it is known as the Anne Cools post because it relates to the independent senator from Toronto, the first black person appointed to the Canadian senate.

Warman, who denies writing the post, has brought libel suits against people who have repeated or linked to the claim that he did, which he says was invented by “neo-Nazis.”

He and Levant are involved in a wider battle over hate speech, one which reflects “a national unease with the convoluted state of laws against it” in Canada, the Post reported.

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