Climate scientist left with nowhere to hide in unwinnable multi-million dollar libel claim. Michael Mann’s lawyer, Roger McConchie, tries to put on a brave face as his client’s SLAPP suit against Tim Ball hits a fatal technicality that bodes ill for Penn. State University’s climate data fraudster. Defeat and disgrace for Mann is inevitable due to his continued refusal to show in open court what Mann still laughingly terms his “proprietary data.”
Last week McConchie, who “literally wrote the book” on Canadian libel law, issued a standard facile press release dismissing as “preposterous…nonsense” a Principia Scientific International (PSI) article in which John O’Sullivan, an outspoken party to the proceedings, astonishingly declared Mann’s case against Ball effectively dead. O’Sullivan immediately replied mocking McConchie. As we see detailed below, McConchie can’t flim-flam his way out of this one.
To readers unfamiliar with Canadian rules of civil procedure, Under Canadian law (Sedona Canada Principles), it is unlawful for an attorney to be complicit in his client’s intentional withholding of key evidence from the court. Penalties and sanctions include fines, professional sanctions and disbarment for wilful offenders, not to mention potential summary judgment in favor of the opposing litigants (in this case, Dr Tim Ball).
The Sedona Canada Principles (see www.thesedonaconference.org) provide guidance with respect to the evidence preservation/disclosure obligation . Canada demands that all litigants (and their attorneys) preserve documents or records from a wide-variety of data types, storage locations and the applicable applications to retrieve such information (if it relates to out-of-date or older archived records). For Michael Mann, this meant he had to prevail upon the Information Technology personnel at Penn. State University and his former employers at the University of Virginia to retrieve and surrender to him (and the British Columbia Supreme Court) all paperwork plus any “data and information stored in electronic form”
The Sedona Canada Principles are of great advantage to Dr Ball being that Mann cannot persist indefinitely in unlawfully keeping under wraps his “secret science.” Already three years have passed since Mann first filed his claim against Ball after Ball published an article in Canada Free Press whereby he joked that Mann “belongs in the state penn, not Penn State.“
But all joking aside, the intentional concealing of key evidence is always fatal to any offending litigant’s claims, and any such act of concealment is known in the legal profession as spoliation. Wilful spoliators (evidence destroyers/concealers) now face the most stringent penalties under Canadian law.