Activist Don Staniford won a major legal battle for anti-salmon farming activists on Friday, Justice Elaine Adair dismissed a defamation case launched by the salmon-farming company Mainstream Canada, a subsidiary of Norwegian company Cermaq.
Staniford was sued for defamation over a 2011 campaign by the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) that included images of cigarette-like packages and statements such as "Salmon Farming Seriously Damages Health".
"I am over the proverbial moon and feel extremely vindicated," Staniford told CBC. "This is a victory not just for Don Staniford against Mainstream Canada. This is a victory for environmental campaigners, social-justice campaigners across the world."
The ruling by Adair summarized:
"Although I have concluded that Mr. Staniford's statements are defamatory of Mainstream, I have concluded that he should succeed on his defence of fair comment. I have found that he was actuated by express malice toward Mainstream. However, I have found that he had an honest belief in the statements he made, and injuring Mainstream because of spite or animosity was not the dominant purpose in publishing the words in issue [...] the plaintiff's action is, accordingly, dismissed."
Mainstream Canada spokesperson said the company will review the ruling, but noted it was too early to say whether it will appeal.
Staniford said will be returning to Canada as soon as he's allowed on March 1, 2013, and is planning a lecture tour around B.C. with Kurt Oddekalv, the leader of the Green Warriors of Norway.