SCC Case Information
Wayne Crookes, et al. v. Jon Newton
(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Torts - Intentional torts - Defamation - Internet hyperlinks - Publication - Whether the author of a website article, through deliberate insertion of a hyperlink in the article which links to a defamatory website article, can be presumed to have published the defamatory article - If the author cannot be presumed to have published the hyperlinked article, under what circumstances can it be inferred that the author has published this defamatory article?
The Appellant Wayne Crookes alleges that he has been defamed in various articles which first appeared on the Internet in 2005. The Respondent, Jon Newton, owns and operates the website www.p2pnet.net. On July 18, 2006, he authored an article, headed “Free Speech in Canada”, which hyperlinked one of the articles, as well as the website containing the other impugned articles. Those articles, in turn, were hyperlinked to one another. Mr. Crookes takes the position that, by creating these hyperlinks, or by refusing to remove the hyperlinks when advised of their defamatory character, Mr. Newton became a publisher of the impugned articles found at the hyperlinked websites. Mr. Crookes and his company, the Appellant West Coast Title Search Ltd., brought an action against Mr. Newton for damages for defamation.