This afternoon a jury in the Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket found, as a fact, that Magna’s Steve Hinder punched Anthony Pullano in the chest at Jane Twinney’s acclamation meeting in Aurora on the evening of 20 March 2014.
Hinder said throughout there was no physical contact with Pullano other than a handshake. Under oath he swore this to be true.
Hinder consistently lied.
The jury also found as a fact that the blow to Pullano’s chest did not cause any injury. The infection of Pullano’s ICD which had to be removed was not caused by the punch but by other factors. For this reason the jury did not award Pullano damages.
Hinder’s counterclaim for defamation succeeded and he was awarded general damages of $50,000 for loss of reputation. It was Pullano's firestorm of tweets that did it.
Pullano will also have to pay costs.
Those who have heard Hinder refer to people of Italian heritage as WOPs are entitled to be astonished that his counterclaim for defamation succeeded.
Fred Rankel - a witness called by Pullano - said he was present when he heard Hinder tell former Aurora Mayor Tim Jones that they’d have to roll up the tents and leave town if the WOPs got elected. The Judge ruled that Fred Rankel’s evidence was inadmissible as it would be severely prejudicial to the defence. It was never put to the jury.
What happens next?
Pullano has established that Hinder punched him, ergo Hinder lied. The witnesses called by Hinder were mistaken.
It seems to me that Pullano should probably put a line under this and get on with the rest of his life. But who knows?
Hinder’s punch and all the humiliations Pullano endured have consumed him for four years.
He also has to find a mountain of cash to pay Hinder’s defamation damages and his legal costs which will be submitted to the Court by 31 January 2019.
An appeal may be possible on the basis of a “perverse verdict” – Hinder punches Pullano but it costs him nothing. Not even a token dollar.
Is this justice?