Belt Drive Betty Defense Fund

This following is an archived article from 2014:

Ray Sasseville, Joan Hansen and Sturgis North Entertainment Inc. are suing myself and six others.

The civil lawsuit document is 30 pages long, all of the "defendants" are basically charged with libel, defamation and slander and the plaintiffs claim that we have caused them financial hardship among other things.

Some of the other "defendants" are individuals or associations I am familiar with, others I have never met or heard of before yesterday, but we are all being sued in one lawsuit. 

I called my lawyer who asked me to scan the documents and email them to him along with a document that should contain my answers to the charges made against me. 

My lawyer is already in possession of the document and my answers to the "charges" against me, but I have to compile everything into a timeline which is going to take me month to complete as that is how much paperwork I have to go through.

As I worked to provide my lawyer with the things he needs to file my response to the suit from Sturgis North, Ray Sasseville and Joan Hansen, I came across this little tidbit published a few days ago: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/securities-regulator-issues-notice-hearing-230400248.html

The BC Securities Commission is holding a hearing in January, 2014 where in they allege that Ray Sasseville, his wife Edith and a man named Richard Keller illegally distributed convertible debentures without having filed a prospectus or being registered with the BC Securities Commission.

Now, Ray himself is already considered a "Disciplined Person" by the BC Securities Commission over a similar situation involving a different company.  You can read about the Disciplinary Action taken by the BCSC against Ray Sasseville by clicking here.

During his first brush with the BC Securities Commission, when he paid a $10,000 fine and was banned from trading for 3 years, Sasseville was "educated" to the fact that in order to sell or distribute convertible debentures that he needed to file a prospectus and be registered with the BCSC.


That was in 2003. This current hearing involves trading that happened from 2007 to 2008.

It was very fortuitous coming across this information yesterday because among the claims Ray and his counterparts are making against me is that:

48. Apart from the defamatory and libelous meaning of the Defendants' publications as set out above,it carries the additional sting that the Plaintiffs are:
             (a)       not law abiding citizens or a corporation that operate outside the parameters of the law;
(b)      without any moral fibre;
(c)       not trustworthy;  
(d)        illiterate;
(e)      incompetent; and
(f)       underhanded
 

(The public records and documents that I dug up and published on Ray Sasseville and his business dealings outside of Sturgis North are all documented here: http://beltdrivebetty.blogspot.ca/2012/11/sturgis-north-2013-will-you-support-it.html)

And there is more in the public realm that has come out about the Sturgis North/Sturgis Canada event of late:In the Salmon Arm Observer, on December 18th, 2013 is an article on Sturgis Moving to Merritt: http://www.saobserver.net/news/236404261.htmlBegin Quote "A lawsuit initiated in 2012 by the motoplex seeking close to $400,000 from Sturgis North Encore Productions Inc. remains before the courts, and some Salmon Arm businesses who were told they would be paid for their work still have not been.Regarding finances, Shaw termed the 2014 event “solid.”“I can say there are good investors on board and they already have the financing in place now.”
End Quote

And from the same reporter in the Vernon Morning Star on January 28th, 2013:
http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/188249801.html

Begin Quote: 
In questions to Hansen, the Observer referred to two civil claims involving Sturgis North – the one initiated by the motoplex, as well as one initiated by Michael Smith – not the Smith who helps run the Summer Stomp motorcycle event – versus Ray Sasseville and Sturgis North Promotions 2011 Inc. In an Aug. 13, 2012 judgment, the court ordered that Sasseville and Sturgis pay $70,000 plus interest and costs to Smith. Smith could not be reached for comment. End Quote
My defence is simple:
 
Fair Comment
A form of qualified privilege applied to news media publications relating to discussion of matters that are of legitimate concern to the community as a whole because they materially affect the interests of all the community. A term used in the defense of libel actions, applying to statements made by a writer (e.g., in the news media) in an honest belief in their truth, relating to official acts, even though the statements are not true in fact. Fair comment must be based on facts truly stated, must not contain imputations of corrupt or dishonorable motives except as warranted by the facts, and must be an honest expression of the writer's real opinion.

In my case, nothing I have dug up is untrue.
Nothing I have said is untrue.
And as always, my goal as a reporter is to educate and inform; to provide people with the information they need to make their own decisions about whether or not they want to participate.I am deeply concerned over the costs this nuisance suit will level on the resources of my small community based business. The time and money it is going to take to defend myself is nothing short of mind numbing, however, I have never been one to back away from a challenge.Don't be surprised if I come to you, my community, asking for some help though, because if this thing drags out, it is going to hamper my ability to keep helping the riding community.


Some information on the legal definitions of the following terms that you might find enlightening:

Defamation

Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.
 
Libel 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others. Libel is the written or broadcast form of defamation, distinguished from slander which is oral defamation. It is a tort (civil wrong) making the person or entity (like a newspaper, magazine or political organization) open to a lawsuit for damages by the person who can prove the statement about him/her was a lie. Publication need only be to one person, but it must be a statement which claims to be fact, and is not clearly identified as an opinion. While it is sometimes said that the person making the libelous statement must have been intentional and malicious, actually it need only be obvious that the statement would do harm and is untrue. Proof of malice, however, does allow a party defamed to sue for "general damages" for damage to reputation, while an inadvertent libel limits the damages to actual harm (such as loss of business) called "special damages." "Libel per se" involves statements so vicious that malice is assumed and does not require a proof of intent to get an award of general damages. Libel against the reputation of a person who has died will allow surviving members of the family to bring an action for damages. Most states provide for a party defamed by a periodical to demand a published retraction. If the correction is made, then there is no right to file a lawsuit. Governmental bodies are supposedly immune for actions for libel on the basis that there could be no intent by a non-personal entity, and further, public records are exempt from claims of libel. However, there is at least one known case in which there was a financial settlement as well as a published correction when a state government newsletter incorrectly stated that a dentist had been disciplined for illegal conduct. The rules covering libel against a "public figure" (particularly a political or governmental person) are special, based on U. S. Supreme Court decisions. The key is that to uphold the right to express opinions or fair comment on public figures, the libel must be malicious to constitute grounds for a lawsuit for damages. Minor errors in reporting are not libel, such as saying Mrs. Jones was 55 when she was only 48, or getting an address or title incorrect. 2) v. to broadcast or publish a written defamatory statement.
 
Slander n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit. Damages (payoff for worth) for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malicious intent, since such damages are usually difficult to specify and harder to prove. Some statements such as an untrue accusation of having committed a crime, having a loathsome disease, or being unable to perform one's occupation are treated as slander per se since the harm and malice are obvious, and therefore usually result in general and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed. Words spoken over the air on television or radio are treated as libel (written defamation) and not slander on the theory that broadcasting reaches a large audience as much if not more than printed publications.

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