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Chief Bill Blair Files Defamation Notice Against Doug Ford

Action comes in response to Ford's allegations that Blair leaked information about a criminal case involving the mayor.

Bill Blair in May, 2012, responding to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director’s report on G20 policing.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has served Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) with a defamation notice. The action comes in response to comments made earlier this month, in which Ford accused Blair of leaking news that Mayor Rob Ford would be served with a subpoena requiring him to appear in court for an extortion case involving his confidante and former driver Sandro Lisi, who is suspected of having tried to recover the infamous crack video. Councillor Ford suggested that the leak was a form of “payback” for the Toronto Police Services Board’s decision not to renew Blair’s contract in 2015.

Process servers hired by Blair’s lawyers delivered the notice to Ford on Monday evening. The chief is demanding a full retraction of Ford’s allegations and a public apology from the councillor. Ford has been served with a libel notice, which is a preliminary requirement for pursuing an actual suit. According to the Libel and Slander Act, a notice must be served within six weeks of the alleged libel. That notice gives the defendant a chance to respond—it provides Ford with an opportunity to retract his statements and apologize, if he is so inclined—before further legal steps are taken.

Ford alleged that Blair had told the media about the subpoena prior to informing the mayor. Blair responded to Ford’s accusation through a spokesperson that day: “Doug Ford is lying, and I am prepared to take legal action.” The councillor later downplayed his own comments (although he did not recant them entirely). “I get rambunctious and I’m entitled to my opinion,” Ford told CBC News.

With research contributed by Christopher Bird.

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