'Caribou Legs' Brad Firth ordered to pay $60K to defamed brother-in-law
Raymond Gagnon says he's pleased with a Yukon Supreme Court judgment awarding him more than $60,000, to be paid by his brother-in-law, Brad Firth — also known as "Caribou Legs."
The awarding of damages on Thursday follows last month's Supreme Court ruling that found Firth had defamed Gagnon by spreading lies about Gagnon's role in Irene Korte's death. Korte was Firth's sister.
"It's just wrong what he did. Totally," Gagnon said outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Thursday.
"He used my wife, is what he did. He used my wife, her death, is exactly what he did."
During a cross-country run to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Firth told several news agencies, including CBC, that domestic violence played a role in his sister's death.
Neither the RCMP nor a 2015 coroner's report supported Firth's allegation. Yukon's chief coroner ruled Korte's death accidental.
Gagnon sued Firth, saying his accusations were a complete fabrication. Firth did not respond to the lawsuit, and last month Gagnon won a default judgment. The judge made no finding of facts in the case.
Even after that judgment, Firth was unrepentant, saying he didn't believe the coroner or the RCMP, and that he wanted a new investigation into Korte's death.
'He doesn't know me'
Gagnon says he's still baffled by Firth's claims, but is ready to move on.
"I don't even know how he could say something like that, because he doesn't know me, he doesn't know my family ... he hadn't seen Irene probably for 40 years.
"I hope to hell he lets her rest, know what I mean?" He said.
Justice John Menzies ordered Firth to pay $55,000 in damages, plus $5,000 in legal costs.
Gagnon's lawyer James Tucker said even if Firth can't pay immediately, "a judgment lasts 10 years... and it can be renewed."
"So it will be there for a very long time. And we will be vigilant, and if we can find anything that will satisfy the judgment, we will do that," Tucker said.