The Defendants

Patrick M. Byrne  patrick-byrne-overstock-mugshot-1260-620x413

Mr. Byrne is the founder of Overstock.com. He is also the owner, and publisher of Deepcapture.com a controversial internet blog which purports to expose financial crimes and promotes various conspiracy theories. Mr. Byrne and his family are significant contributors to various political parties and causes in the state of Utah, and major funders of the 2016 Republican gubernatorial campaign.

In October 2011, Altaf Nazerali initiated a lawsuit against Mr. Byrne, Deep Capture, and Mark Mitchell, his employee a purported journalist, for defamation, and libel in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Nazerali initially obtained a precedent setting injunction which shut down Deep Capture for several months (http://tinyurl.com/hatg6h4). In a court appearance in December 2011, the defendants pleaded, among other things, truth and justification.

The matter went to trial in April 2015. After several trial days, in June 2015, the defendants did not call a single witness nor present any evidence to substantiate their outrageous claims despite their earlier pleas of truth and justification. Byrne did not appear as a witness despite the bravado expressed in his blog. Final arguments in the case were heard in September 2015.

In May 2016, Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck rendered a scathing 102 page judgement finding Byrne, and Mitchell jointly and severally guilty of libel and defamation and awarded Nazerali $1.2 million including $400,000 in general damages, $500,000 in aggravated damages, $250,000 in punitive damages, and $55,000 in special damages, the highest such award in British Columbia history, and one of the highest in Canada.

Both Byrne and Mitchell were permanently banned from any further defamatory publications about Nazerali. The judge stated the injunction was necessary because Byrne and Mitchell had acted with malice. Justice Affleck concluded, “Mitchell, Byrne and Deep Capture LLC engaged in a calculated and ruthless campaign to inflict as much damage on Mr. Nazerali’s reputation as they could achieve.” “It is clear on the evidence that their intention was to conduct a vendetta in which the truth about Mr. Nazerali himself was of no consequence.” He went on to say, “not only are the defamatory words pleaded by the plaintiff damaging to his reputation, these defendants, instead of choosing to tone down their extravagant language once they were sued, chose to pile on the abuse with a narrative of multiple allegations of serious misconduct.”

The full judgement can be found here.

 


 

Mark MitchellMark Mitchell

Mr. Mitchell is the principal writer for Deep Capture.com a conspiracy blog owned and operated by Patrick Byrne, the founder and CEO of Overstock.com Despite having no journalistic training, Mr. Mitchell purports to hold himself out as being an ethical writer.

In September 2011, after Mr. Mitchell wrote numerous unsubstantiated stories about Altaf Nazerali on his blog, Nazerali contacted Mitchell who then offered to remove him from the stories in exchange for Nazerali becoming a source. In October 2011, Nazerali filed suit and obtained an injunction against Mitchell, Byrne, and others for defamation and libel in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.The matter went to trial in April 2015 with final arguments in September 2015.

In May 2016, Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck rendered a scathing 102 page judgement finding Byrne, and Mitchell jointly and severally guilty of libel and defamation and awarded Nazerali $1.2 million including $400,000 in general damages, $500,000 in aggravated damages, $250,000 in punitive damages, and $55,000 in special damages, the highest such award in British Columbia history, and one of the highest in Canada.

Both Byrne and Mitchell were permanently banned from any further defamatory publications about Nazerali. The judge stated the injunction was necessary because Byrne and Mitchell had acted with malice. Justice Affleck concluded, “Mitchell, Byrne and Deep Capture LLC engaged in a calculated and ruthless campaign to inflict as much damage on Mr. Nazerali’s reputation as they could achieve.” “It is clear on the evidence that their intention was to conduct a vendetta in which the truth about Mr. Nazerali himself was of no consequence.” He went on to say, “not only are the defamatory words pleaded by the plaintiff damaging to his reputation, these defendants, instead of choosing to tone down their extravagant language once they were sued, chose to pile on the abuse with a narrative of multiple allegations of serious misconduct.”

The full judgement can be found here.

Further information on Mr. Mitchell can be found below:

http://talkingbiznews.com/1/mitchell-resigns-from-cjr-daily/
http://whitecollarfraud.blogspot.ca/2008/07/what-is-mark-mitchell-hiding-about.html
http://garyweiss.blogspot.ca/2011/10/genesis-of-libel-how-mark-mitchell.html
http://cfaille.blogspot.ca/2011/10/nazerali-v-deep-capture.html

 

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