'Relentless' online defamation ends with Vancouver woman ordered to pay ex $200K

A Vancouver woman has been ordered by a B.C. court to pay her ex $200,000 in damages after she allegedly made more than 85 online posts defaming him on social media sites, including Instagram.

In his ruling, B.C. Supreme Court  Justice Elliot Myers found Noelle Halcrow defamed her ex — Brandon Rook — in a "relentless" and "malicious" campaign.

According to the ruling, the pair met in 2015 and had an on-again-off-again relationship that ended in July of 2016. The posts started a month later. 

Vancouver libel lawyer Alan McConchie represented the plaintiff, Rook.

McConchie said despite his experience in libel law the details of this case were still able to shock him. He said he was struck by the length of time the posts continued and the severity of the content.

Hashtags included #drunk, #loserlife

In the ruling issued by Myers orally in September and posted online Friday, the judge says "the internet is not a Wild West where the regular laws of defamation don't apply."

The more than 85 offending posts are listed in a timeline and appendix which takes up the last 44 pages of the ruling.

These posts allegedly appeared on various sites including Instagram under various pseudonym accounts. Many are peppered with hashtags using Rook's name and words such as #drunk, #loser and #loserlife.

Woman said she did not make the posts

Halcrow, the defendant, is described in the court ruling as an unemployed former account executive who represented herself in the civil matter. She argued that she never made the posts, which she said were published by friends and others.

But Justice Myers did not accept her story.

"Ms. Halcrow mounted a campaign against Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive," the judge said and ordered Halcrow to pay $200,000 in damages and about $40,000 in special damages to cover Rook's "reputation consultant" fees.

"The courts have recognized that the internet can be used as an exceedingly effective tool to harm reputations. This is one such case."

CBC reached out to Halcrow for comment.

Rook also declined direct comment. Speaking through his lawyer, he said he wished to put the matter behind him.

Dado Ruvic/REUTERS