Racist signs directed at neighbours who cut down trees cost Coquitlam couple $35,000

Published: November 22, 2013

KEITH FRASER
VANCOUVER DESI

Offensive protest signs and racist comments made during a battle between neighbours over three trees that were pruned and then had to be cut down has resulted in a Coquitlam couple being ordered to pay $35,000 in damages.

The dispute between the Demenuks and Dhadwals began when the Dhadwals, while building a new home, pruned and cut the roots of three large trees on the property boundary.

The Dhadwals had complied with municipal bylaws but the cutting of the roots endangered the trees and the two Douglas firs and the cedar tree were eventually ordered to be cut down.

The Demenuks sued the Dhadwals to recover for the loss of the trees and the Dhadwals filed a counter claim, alleging they had been defamed by the protest signs and had suffered aggravated damages arising in part from the racist comments.

In a ruling posted online Friday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Voith dismissed the claims of the plaintiff Demenuks, concluding that the Dhadwals had complied with the bylaws.

But he found that Ronald Demenuk and his partner Robyn had defamed the Dhadwals by putting up the offensive signs in an alley by their home.

The signs were either carried by or stenciled onto the clothing of a number of animals figures including a monkey, an elephant and a lion.

Messages on them included “This is Canada!! Not India Respect It!!”

Other signs said “Butchers. 3old Growth Trees. Totally ignorant,” and “Low Lifes.”

On the day the trees were cut, Robyn called the Dhadwals “f…… Hindus.”

At trial, the Demenuks maintained that they did not know the Dhadwals were East Indian and argued they might have been from Sri Lanka, but the judge said that evidence was nonsense.

“There is little reason for a court to have confidence in the evidence of individuals whose testimony is so patently disingenous.”

Voith ordered the Demenuks to pay $25,000 for defamation and another $10,000 for aggravated damages, for a total award of $35,000.

Alnoor Gangji, a lawyer for the Dhadwals, said his clients were satisfied with the ruling and have “tremendous respect” for the system.

“They’ve basically said that they’re happy with the result. They think that everything that needed to be said is in the judgment.”

He said the couple, who are still neighbours with the Demenuks, also wished to thank a number of “very decent” people who showed up in court to testify in the case, incuding an RCMP officer who he said was the subject of an unwarranted complaint.

“They fought this because the signs were alleging they didn’t respect Canadian law. That’s why they took the case to court, to show that they do respect Canadian law.”

Robyn Demenuk, also known as Robyn Soames according to the ruling, declined to comment when reached by phone Friday.

Related:

kfraser@theprovince.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser


Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoiding relapse, inviting happiness over the Holiday Season

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Holiday parties and celebrations with…
Continue Reading »

Miss World

Bikini round removed from Miss World pageant

IANS London – The Miss World contest, which has been an annual feature since 1951, will no longer feature a swimsuit round in their competition,…
Continue Reading »

sexi desi babes

Gallery: Wait for India’s Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over

VANCOUVER DESI The Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over. An Indian lifestyle channel will air the grand finale of the reality…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Stars come together for another big fat Bollywood wedding

VANCOUVER DESI After Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding with businessman Aayush Sharma last month, Bollywood stars gathered for another high-profile Bollywood wedding that turned…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Film Review: Aamir Khan’s PK unconventionally outstanding

TROY REBEIRO IANS Film: “PK”; Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshat Shahni; Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Rating: *** 1/2…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood jodis-ex lovers

Bollywood’s ex-flames Shahid Kapoor, Kareena to work together in ‘Udta Punjab’?

IANS Mumbai – Actor Shahid Kapoor, who once dated actress Kareena Kapoor, has said that he has never refused to work with the latter and…
Continue Reading »