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B.C. Mountie sues anti-COVID mandate protester over YouTube videos

Const. Conrad Erbes privately filed a lawsuit for $35,000 in small claims court last week.
Screen shot from Marcel Irnie's Youtube video.

A Kelowna RCMP officer is suing a local anti-mandate protester and YouTuber after the man uploaded a video of an argument between the two to social media.

Const. Conrad Erbes privately filed a lawsuit for $35,000 in small claims court last week against Marcel Duncan Irnie over a series of videos recorded on Jan. 29, 2022.

Irnie posted the videos of the interaction between himself and Erbes, who was trying to get him to move his RV from in front of city hall after it had been parked there for much of the day. This was at the peak of anti-mandate protests in the city and was after a particularly large rally in nearby Stuart Park.

The videos gained hundreds of thousands of videos and a strong reaction from Kelowna RCMP brass.

“It is clear the officer was interacting with an individual who was trying to instigate a negative interaction and elicit a response to gain views and supporters,” said Insp. Adam MacIntosh after the videos were published.

Irnie would make multiple additional videos featuring Const. Erbes after the initial series was published.

“Since that date, over several months Mr. Irnie did by way of direct action willfully and intentionally, slander, libel and actively attempt and succeed in damaging the professional and personal character and reputation of Conrad Erbes,” said the police officer in a handwritten lawsuit filed March 29 in Kelowna.

The lawsuit also includes a “cease and desist” notice from Erbes dated Dec. 14, 2022, informing Irnie that he does “not now, nor have you ever had permission to use my name, image, likeness or any other reproduction thereof without my express written consent.”

The lawsuit, however, will be going nowhere in its current form. Small claims courts in B.C. do not have the power to deal with cases involving libel and slander. A judge in small claims court would not have the ability to order Irnie to remove the videos, something Erbes is seeking.

It remains to be seen if Erbes will end up refiling his lawsuit in BC Supreme Court, which would likely result in significant legal costs for all parties involved.

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