Hassidic Jews lose defamation lawsuit against blogger

Three members of Montreal's Hassidic Jewish community have lost their defamation lawsuit against an Outremont blogger

Three members of Montreal's Hassidic Jewish community who took an Outremont blogger to court for alleged libel have lost.

Community leader Alex Werzberger, and real estate developer Michael Rosenberg and his son Martin alleged that Pierre Lacerte's blog unfairly zeroed in on them for taking them to task for flouting municipal bylaws when it came to issues such as parking and construction permits. They alleged that they were being targetted and ridiculed unfairly, damaging their reputations.

Judge Claude Dallaire rejected their arguments, saying they were unable to prove any of the stress and damages they said they went through or any discrimination or racial motives. She went on to say that as active members of the community and public figures, the plaintiffs are not sheltered from criticism or parody as protected by freedom of expression.

Lacerte said he hopes this will turn the page on what he calls tense relations with certain Hassidic leaders, insisting he has no issues with the larger community.

"I hope that the leaders of this community will be a bit more respectful of their neighbours," Lacerte told CJAD 800 News.

And he added he also hopes to improve relations by being a little less aggressive in his blog from now on.

"I had to do that because otherwise no one was listening to me."

Lawyer Julius Grey who represented the plaintiffs would not comment on the ruling. Werzberger said he had not had a chance to read the ruling so could not comment.

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