The desperate bid by the attention-seeking former Newmarket councillor Maddie Di Muccio to extract $5, 000 in damages from Regional Councillor John Taylor for an alleged libel against her first came up for trial at Newmarket Small Claims Court on September 4, 2015.
The trial judge, the ill-tempered Vincent Stabile, ruled the trial should not proceed at that stage to allow Taylor to lodge an amended defence making it crystal clear that, in his view, the action is out of time and cannot go to full trial.
In his amended defence, filed with the Court on 15 October 2015, Taylor writes:
“With respect to my contention that Ms Di Muccio did not provide me with adequate notice of libel, I believe her claim cannot succeed because of this. Section 5(1) of the Libel and Slander Act, a copy of which I have attached to my amended statement of defence, clearly requires Ms Di Muccio to have given me notice of the alleged libel within 6 weeks of it having come to her attention, which was at least as early as March 6, 2014 [Sic 2015]. Accordingly, she had until April 17, 2015. In fact she served me with her notice of libel dated June 9, 2015, some 13 weeks later.”
“Similarly, the Libel and Slander Act also requires Ms Di Muccio to have commenced her action within three months of the alleged libel. Her claim was issued on June 15, 2015, which is more than a week after this limitation period expired.”
“I know that the statement which Ms Di Muccio alleges was defamatory (which I deny was the case, in any event) came to her knowledge at least as early as March 6, 2015 because she was posting comments about it on an internet chat board which was attached to the internet version of the very Era article quoting my statement. For reference, I have attached a print out of her comments to my amended statement of defence. Ms Di Muccio wrote, amongst other things:
“It seems that Mr Taylor and his cabal can only thrive when attacking Maddie Di Muccio, even as a private citizen. These people, and everyone who is complicit in their dirty politics, are nothing but common thugs. They will go to great lengths to destroy families and communities. Taylor should have thought twice before having the audacity to defame me again. This time, he went too far.”
The litigious Di Muccio is, of course, President of the York Region Taxpayers Coalition and, no doubt, has a better idea than most of the many varied ways in which public money can be wasted. Her libel action - which is doomed to fail - is soaking up valuable Court time but, perversely, there is no cost to her in dollars. The intangible cost is to her reputation, such as it is.
As the supposedly aggrieved party in this long running soap opera, Di Muccio is free to drop the action against Taylor at any stage. My guess is that she will hang on in there, waiting for the case to be thrown out on a “technicality” (that the action was not brought within the period stipulated in the Act).
In one sense this is unfortunate.
While Di Muccio will find some inventive way of claiming victim status yet again, it would have been much better for all concerned for the case to go to full trial.
You can read the original paperwork here. Navigate to Di Muccio v Taylor