Former far-right Mississauga mayoralty candidate ordered to pay Mohamed Fakih’s legal bill

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Published December 13, 2021 at 8:46 pm

Mississauga businessman and philanthropist Mohamed Fakih has succeeded in sticking failed far-right politician Kevin J. Johnston with a legal bill of over $200,000.

Last week, Ontario Superior Court Justice Fred Myers said that Johnston owes Paramount Fine Foods, the restaurant chain Fakih has built, some $226,816.50 in court costs. That is on top of the $2.5-million defamation judgment that Fakih won in 2019 against Johnston over a series of Islamophobic online postings, as well as six counts of contempt that Johnston is facing in Ontario.

The indemnity is set at 90 per cent of the cost of Paramount’s legal costs in the case. The company and Fakih were represented by Niklas Holmberg of Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb.

‘Deliberately stalled’

Myers noted that when he convicted Johnston of contempt a few months ago, he factored in Johnston’s “public statements that he has organized his affairs so as to be judgment-proof” in sentencing him to 18 months of jail time. This time around, he stated that a monetary penalty was called for since Johnston, who represented himself in the proceedings, “deliberately stalled and ran up the plaintiffs’ costs while publicly delighting in doing so.”

In the 2019 defamation judgement, Johnston was court-ordered to refrain from coming within 100 metres of Fakih, his family or his home. He was also banned from recording or publishing material about Fakih. Instead, the restauranter has had to “re-live” Johnston’s bigoted and racist attacks, the court found.

“The context and underlying facts are relevant,” Myers elaborated. “Mr. Johnston’s refusal; to admit the obvious and to participate in the proceeding responsibly, led to Mr. Fakih having to re-live in court the entirety of Mr. Johnston’s attacks against him. Mr. Johnston could have admitted that he said the things captured on video, purged his contempt, and argued sentencing for example. Instead, he extended the proceedings to their fullest and tried to extend them further at each hearing.”

Some of the examples of Johnston stretching out the case including failing to reply within a month to the plaintiffs’ cost submissions. He was also prone to “fil(ing) material at the last minute before sentencing, in breach of the court’s scheduling orders, that repeated many of the statements for which he had already been held in contempt.” Myers surmised that those actions were “just indicative of Mr. Johnston’s failure to abide by the court’s processes.”

Myers added, “It is hard to imagine a more perfect storm of offensive misconduct than brought about by Mr. Johnston’s hate speech coupled with his express statements of contempt for the court and the rule of law.”

Johnston entered the mayor’s race in Calgary this fall. He got 1,565 votes, or about 0.9 per cent as much support as Mayor Jyoti Gondek received en route to becoming the Calgary’s first female mayor.

Johnston was a Mississauga mayoralty candidate in 2014 and ’18. He finished second in 2018, albeit more than 75,000 votes behind Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who received 76.68 per cent popular support.

The full ruling on the court costs proceeding is available at canlii.org.

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