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Court Reserves Judgment in Wang v. BC Medical Association and Individuals
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Vancouver, BC - June 4, 2012 - Z. Essak

Four years after the controversy arose from the BC Medical Association Board meeting of February 2008 and communications of the BCMA President alleged to be defamatory the matter was heard at Trial in the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver.

The Trial began on January 23, 2012 and though originally scheduled for twenty days was extended for an additional week with a total of twenty-four days of hearings. The Trial hearings ended on February 24, 2012 and the Court reserved Judgment. The Court decision may be released anytime in the next several months.

The Court is to consider not only whether the actions were defamatory but also if there was malice and breach of contract.

The Court heard under oath, through questions and cross-examination of the individuals involved, details of facts previously provided in affidavits to the original hearing in April 2008, the Judgment of which on Appeal was set aside without prejudice.

Full costs staggering and in the $millions

The full costs of the legal process must be staggering and in the millions of dollars as it has included a BC Supreme Court Judgment in November 2008; an Appeal Court decision in January 2010; a BC Supreme Court decision in August 2011 to deny the extraordinary request that the plaintiff Dr Wang be required to put up a security deposit; a BC Supreme Court decision in October 2011 on the requirements of the insurance company to defend; and this Trial.

What remedies will be required?

How will the Court decision shed light on what happened and the remedies that must be undertaken legally and will it help the medical profession determine what other remedies are required to fully resolve the matter?

The decision will be of interest not only to physicians in BC and beyond, but also to the general public as the controversy relates to the responsibilities of the Board directors and the rights of all members of non-profit Societies in BC.

Court heard audio excerpts of Feb 2008 Board Meeting and 2008 AGM in Prince George

Over the course of twenty-four days the Court heard a lot of details including of communications and documents previously not public. The Court also heard audio excerpts of the December 1, 2007 Board meeting; the February 1 and 2, 2008 Board meeting; and the June 2008 AGM in Prince George.

The Court proceedings were open to the public. People were free to come and go and did so throughout the days of the Trial. The Court record is also public. The BC Supreme Court no longer includes transcription as a requirement for the court record instead an audio recording is kept as the official court record and it can only be heard in person by appointment at the court location where the hearing took place.

If transcripts are prepared by a third-party transcription service the transcripts may be available to view at the court location but copies are not available online or through the courts only directly from the third-party transcription provider.

In this case third-party transcription was requested and arranged by the Defendants, the BC Medical Association and Individuals named, including a live-feed for the transcript to be viewed on computer monitors of their lawyers and the Judge as it was being transcribed by the court reporter. The lawyers for the Defendants also circulated transcripts each day to all the Defendants. Other individuals including the Plaintiff are required to purchase any transcripts they wish to have.

The Vancouver BC Supreme Court contact information can be found at http://courts.gov.bc.ca/supreme_court/locations.htm?location=vancouver

A calendar of the Trial has been prepared for the doclounge website showing when individuals and lawyers were heard in court. The calendar is not an official record but may be a useful index to the court record and can be found at 2012_Trial_Calendar.

BC Court transcription by third-party companies

In BC, court transcription services are now done by third-party companies or individuals. The transcripts can be done by a court reporter attending in court or done later on listening to the Court audio recording.

When transcripts are requested and done it appears to be common practice that a copy is provided for inclusion with the court record and can be viewed by the public at the court location where it is stored.

However, the court transcripts are not available online to the public and copies are not available from the court, only directly through the third-party transcription providers who maintain they have copyright to the transcripts and require payment for copies. The cost for transcripts varies and is approximately $3-4 per page with an average of thirty pages for each hour of hearings. Live-feeds of the transcription can also be arranged at additional cost.

If it is true that Court rule changes in BC are such that court transcripts are now the property of third-party providers, it makes public access to the Court record more difficult with geographic barriers and greater financial barriers.

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