Lawsuit over Star Column

Graeme Bacque (
Thu, 18 Jun 1998 06:33:02 -0400

June 18, 1998=20

Account of fight accurate, writer tells libel trial=20

By Heather Greenwood=20
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

A Toronto Star column about an altercation between a homeless man and a
security guard last year was an accurate depiction of what the writer
witnessed, a libel trial has been told.=20

Rosie DiManno told the court yesterday that as a columnist it is her job to
offer up her opinion of events that happen in the city, and that is what
she did.=20

``A column should have its author's fingerprints all over it. It's more
expansive than a news story,'' DiManno said, adding that her columns have
``a distinctive voice.''=20


Security guard Peter Gouveia, 25, is suing DiManno and The Star, charging
that her February, 1997, column was inaccurate and libelous.=20

The column recounted an incident DiManno witnessed at the Market Square
complex on Front St. between Gouveia and a homeless man, Doug Ryan, but
does not name either.=20

DiManno told the jury that after watching a matin=E9e in a theatre at Market
Square on Jan. 20, 1997, she emerged to see Gouveia pushing Ryan in the=

Gouveia eventually jump- ed on Ryan's back, put him into a headlock, pinned
him to the floor and began striking him repeatedly in the back with his
fist, the court heard.=20

When police arrived, she offered to file a formal statement but was
rebuffed, DiManno said.=20


``I wanted it to stop. I wanted Mr. Gouveia to stop beating on the other
gentleman,'' she said. ``It made me angry.''=20

Ren=E9e Soeterik, a gift shop clerk in the mall at the time of the incident,
told the six-member jury yesterday that while generally Gouveia was calm
with the homeless people in the mall, she had seen him act in an
``overzealous'' manner in the past.=20

She also said Gouveia had once shown her a tooth he carried around in his
wallet and told her it belonged to a homeless man with whom he had fought.=

Gouveia denied Soeterik's account, saying she had her story confused.=20

The trial continues in Ontario Court, general division.=20

Contents copyright =A9 1996-1998, The Toronto Star.
User interface, selection and arrangement copyright =A9 1996-1998, Torstar
Electronic Publishing Ltd.=20

Graeme Bacque
(#2226799 on ICQ)
++Question and challenge *all* human 'authority'++