Motion brought by the plaintiff requesting an Order compelling
the defendants to produce relevant documents in their possession
and control relating to the identities of three John Doe
defendants. The defendants owned a operated a message board
which allowed users to post comments on a variety of topics.
The three John Doe defendants were alleged to have posted
defamatory comments. The documents demanded were the IP
addresses used to create the accounts in question, the e-mail
addresses and personal subscriber information and the IP addresses
used by the John Doe defendants to make the alleged defamatory
comments. There was no issue as to the relevance of the
documents or the fact that the data came within the meaning of the
In deciding whether to order disclosure the Court considered
four principles: (1) whether the unknown alleged wrongdoer could
have a reasonable expectation of anonymity in the particular
circumstances; (2) whether the Respondent has established a prima
facie case against the unknown alleged wrongdoer and is acting in
good faith; (3) whether the Respondent has taken reasonable steps
to identify the anonymous party and has been unable to do so; and
(4) whether the public interests favouring disclosure outweigh the
legitimate interests of freedom of expression and right to privacy
of the persons sought to be identified if the disclosure is
ordered. The Court held that the first three factors must be
weighed and balanced in the context of the fourth factor.
The Court found that the plaintiff had taken all reasonable
steps to identify the parties by examining their posts and
cross-referencing their pseudonyms. There was no reasonable
expectation of privacy since the use of pseudonym evidenced an
intention to remain anonymous not an expectation. Further,
could be prosecuted for defamatory comments. The Court went
on to find that the plaintiff had established a prima
facie case that the postings were defamatory. Finally,
the Court found that due consideration had been paid to the John
Doe defendants' right to privacy and freedom of
expression. Accordingly, the Court ordered the disclosure of
all the relevant documents in the defendants' control.
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