VANCOUVER — A B.C. Supreme Court judge says a defamation lawsuit filed by author Steven Galloway against a woman he claims falsely accused him of sexual and physical assaults can continue to trial.
Galloway, who was chair of the University of British Columbia's creative writing program before he was fired in 2016, filed the lawsuit three years ago against the woman — whose identity is protected by a publication ban but is referred to in court documents as A.B. — and more than 20 others.
Justice Elaine Adair has dismissed the lawsuit against certain defendants.
The novelist says he was defamed and his reputation was ruined.
He requested damages, an injunction preventing the defendants from repeating the allegations, and removal of the remarks from the internet, some of which were made on social media.
None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.
Adair says in her ruling that 12 defendants, including A.B., applied to have the lawsuit tossed out under the province's Protection of Public Participation Act, which is intended to protect critics on matters of public interest from lawsuits aimed at silencing or punishing them.
In a written ruling released Thursday by lawyers involved in the case, Adair says allowing Galloway's claims to proceed does not presuppose a particular outcome before a trial judge.
"Rather, what has happened is that Mr. Galloway will have the opportunity to present his claims for adjudication in a trial," Adair wrote.
"Mr. Galloway may succeed in persuading a trial judge that, in respect of a particular claim, he is entitled to a remedy (which could be significant or minuscule), or his claim may be dismissed on the merits. Mr. Galloway may be successful against one defendant, but fail as against another or all of the others. The ultimate outcome will be up to the trial judge."
Galloway was suspended from the university in November 2015 while an investigation was completed into what the school said were serious allegations of misconduct. He was fired in June of the following year.
In December 2015, the university asked former B.C. Supreme Court judge Mary Ellen Boyd to investigate complaints against Galloway. Boyd's report, submitted in April 2016, has not been made public.
Galloway said in a statement issued in November 2016, shortly after the Boyd report was released to him, that on a balance of probabilities the retired judge found he had not committed sexual assault.
Galloway is the author of three novels, including “The Confabulist” and “The Cellist of Sarajevo.” He was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2021.
The Canadian Press