Chris Hand, the Zeke behind Zeke’s Gallery, spent most of today in the Palais de Justice with his lawyer and mother. At issue was an injunction which stops Hand from making specific statements about Pierre-Antoine Tremblay, an art dealer who is suing him for libel.
After hearing about an hour’s worth of arguments from both sides, the judge has ordered a renewal of the existing injunction against Hand, but without changes asked by the plaintiff (those seemed centred around preventing Hand from using other media to make statements against Mr. Tremblay). The injunction prohibits Chris Hand from saying that Pierre-Antoine Tremblay is associated with Frank Martorana and the mafia, or that he tried to sell fake paintings to Loto-Quebec. Both statements Tremblay’s lawyer says are entirly false.
The injunction lasts until Sept. 6, 2007, when further hearings will take place on this matter.
Among other things of note:
- Tremblay wasn’t present in court.
- Tremblay and his lawyer have increased their monetary demands. What was once $25,000 is now $60,000.
- Hand was barely recognizable. His hippie haircut has been replaced with a professional-looking crewcut. He sat well-behaved in a suit (no tie) and didn’t bite the head off even one chicken throughout the proceedings.
- The proceedings were held entirely in French, except for what was read from blog posts and newspaper articles.
- From the plaintiff’s lawyer: “Comment ça se dit en français ‘quack’?” Hand’s mother tried to explain before Chris cut her off and explained that she’s helping opposing council.
- Legal chit-chat between the lawyers and court reporter are always cute. They talk about the temperature of the drinking water in the courtroom, or what lawyer was at which firm when, or about the noise of construction on the floors above them.
- Shout-outs to Montreal Tech Watch and Hou-Hou Blog whose posts were used in evidence by the plaintiff. No mention of my huge post, but my article did get quoted so I won’t complain.
- Both lawyers were very effective at pleading their case. The plaintiff’s arguments boiled down to the fact that this is a very specific injunction (the facts of the libel case weren’t argued today), that Hand is using other media (Yahoo! Groups, other blogs, personal communication at YULblog meetings) to repeat the same allegedly libellous claims, and that Zeke’s Gallery is in competition with Tremblay’s Galerie 2000 (a claim Chris calls an exaggeration).
- There are still three related cases pending. All have been postponed to Sept. 6:
- The injunction preventing Hand from making these statements about Tremblay
- A contempt of court charge for allegedly ignoring the previous injunction
- The libel case itself
- Tremblay’s lawyer said outright that the paintings sold to Loto-Quebec were not forged. This is the first complete denial of this charge I’ve heard. The out-of-court settlement between Tremblay and Loto-Quebec is secret, but I’d love to find out what the real story is behind it.
- The Zeke’s Gallery blog remains effectively shut down. Hand isn’t sure if he’ll bring it back, even if he ends up winning the case.