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

West Kelowna Light Up coming Friday night

Decorations and lights will take over the City of West Kelowna just in time for the holidays

WATCH: Video shows Kelowna bylaw officers throwing away items belonging to homeless

The video, which was uploaded to Facebook on Dec. 4, has drawn the ire of many local residents

Moral challenges still exist around euthanasia: UBC Okanagan study

A UBCO professor said nurses are conflicted with assisted deaths due to new end-of-life options

Kelowna man loses appeal claiming he was too drunk to murder his roommate

Daniel Ruff will remain behind bars and is ineligible for parole until 2027

Supportive housing complex for women and seniors’ home approved in Glenmore area

32 townhouses for women fleeing violence and a 162-unit seniors home are planned for the site

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Grandparents raising children: Salmon Arm grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Man sentenced in Salmon Arm to one year in jail for luring adolescent girls

Offence took place online, sentence conditions include restrictions on contact with people under 16

COLUMN: Light holiday movies, filmed here in B.C.

How is it possible to come up with so many holiday-themed movie scripts each year?

Penny the Vernon pitbull works on her fitness

BC SPCA Vernon celebrates Penny’s milestones on social media

Shooting victim’s son-in-law sentenced for vandalizing B.C. home of alleged killer’s wife

Zachary Charles Steele, son-in-law to Rudi Winter, pleaded guilty to mischief over $5,000

Most Read