Author of book critical of Stonechild inquiry suing professor for defamation

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Author of book critical of Stonechild inquiry suing professor for defamation

An author who wrote a book about the Stonechild inquiry is suing a Regina professor for her opposition to the publication.

Last year, four venues in Regina cancelled signing events for the book The Cold Hard Facts, which is critical of the inquiry's work and findings about the death of First Nations teenager Neil Stonechild in Saskatoon in 1990.

Now, author Candis McLean is suing University of Regina professor Michelle Stewart for defamation.

In her statement of claim, McLean says Stewart led a Facebook campaign against the signings and tried to have the events cancelled.

The statement of claim contains allegations not yet proven in court.

McLean alleges Stewart incited other Facebook users to direct abusive comments at her and called her book "racist garbage."

"Dr. Stewart accused Ms. McLean of racism," reads the claim. "Dr. Stewart knew that the comments were false when she made them, or was indifferent to whether they were true or not."

The claim also alleges McLean lost money after the cancellations and caused "significant stress that has materially impacted her health."

Book exonerates police

In an interview last year, McLean said her book exonerates police and sheds new light on the events of Stonechild's death.

Stonechild's frozen body was found on the outskirts of Saskatoon in November 1990.

Police said his death was accidental and Stonechild's case faded from the public eye for 10 years — until two more Indigenous men were found frozen to death on the outskirts of Saskatoon within one week.

Finally, in 2003, the provincial government agreed to repeated demands that it call an inquiry into Stonechild's death.

The inquiry concluded the teen was in the custody of police the night he died. Two officers were later dismissed from the police service.

A trial date in the defamation case has not yet been set.