The supreme Court of Canada agrees to judge if the cruel jokes of Mike Ward against Jérémy Gabriel have crossed the line, and if the comedian eventually will have to pay $ 35,000 to the young singer disabled to compensate for the damage.
For a rare time, the country’s highest court will consider a case that could redefine the limits of freedom of expression not only of comedians, but ” the artistic community in general “, was overjoyed to Me Julius Grey, who has defended Mike Ward.
“I am relieved that the supreme Court gives us permission to plead our cause,” added the lawyer emeritus. Mike Ward refused interview requests following the announcement of the supreme Court on Thursday morning.
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Me Julius Grey
“Today, the justice shows us that the cause is a struggle fundamental to the freedom of expression and that it is important for all designers and all creative canadians “, wrote its director, Michel Grenier in a message posted on Facebook.
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Five year Saga
It is also an opportunity, pointed to Me Julius Grey, review the limits of the jurisdiction of the Committee on the rights of the person.
It is this instance that is the origin of the proceedings against Mike Ward, and non-Jérémy Gabriel directly.
For his part, the young singer said in a statement that he would have preferred that the appeal of Mike Ward is not allowed. It accepts, however, the decision of the supreme Court, which will put a final end to a judicial saga that has lasted for 2015 (see below).
“I would have preferred to see this ending permanently. I, however, emphasise the importance of allowing Mr. Ward to assert their points again. “
“After several years of debate on the topic and after having heard many of the opinions, the highest court of our country will decide finally on the question of the delicate balances between the freedom of artistic expression and the right to dignity “, he added.
Not before next year
Jérémy Gabriel was obliged to reiterate its full confidence in the extraordinary work accomplished by the Commission of human rights and the rights of the Youth, who has directed the project since 2012.
According to Me Julius Grey, he will have to wait until at least next year before the supreme Court heard the arguments of the clan Ward.
– With the collaboration of Yves Leclerc
- October 2005 : At 8 years old, Jérémy Gabriel interprets the national anthem before a match of Canada at the Bell Centre.
- May 2006 : To 9-year-old boy Jeremy flies to the Vatican, where he sang for pope Benedict XVI. In the same year, he meets Celine Dion in Las Vegas.
- 2010 : In his show Mike Ward is exposed, the comedian mocks the physical appearance of Jérémy Gabriel, who is suffering from the syndrome of Treacher Collins. He says that he is “ugly” and ” not him killable “. Gabriel claimed to have received threats every time that Ward had his show and have thought of suicide. The show was presented 230 times, from 2010 to 2013.
- 2012 : A complaint is filed with the Commission on human rights and the rights of the youth. A sum of $ 80,000 is claimed for moral damages and punitive damages for the benefit of Gabriel and his parents, for offence to the dignity and discrimination because of his disability.
- September 2015 : The cause is debated at the palais de justice de Montréal.
- July 2016 : The court condemns Mike Ward to pay $ 35,000 to Jérémy Gabriel, and $ 7,000 to his mother. The comedian announced immediately that he will appeal the decision and launching a campaign of sociofinancement to cover its legal expenses estimated at 93 000 $.
- November 2019 : Despite the dissent noted the judge Manon Savard, the Court of appeal maintained the conviction of Mike Ward, but cancels the compensation of $ 7,000 for the mother of Jeremy Gabriel. Mike Ward says that he wants to bring his case before the supreme Court.
- July 30, 2020 : supreme Court agrees to hear the case of Mike Ward.