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You are here: Home Ontario  Restaurant owner convicted of libel

Restaurant owner convicted of libel

OTTAWA—Restaurateur Marisol Simoes is to appear in court Nov. 8 to face sentencing  after being found guilty of two counts of criminal libel last week,  for painting an online picture of a customer who complained about one of her restaurants as a highly sexed individual who wanted group sex.

Simoes is co-owner with her husband of trendy restaurants Mambo Nuevo Latino and Kinki in Ottawa’s Byward Market.

Elayna Katz wrote two online reviews criticizing Mambo,  complaining that there were olives in a pasta dish served to her when she had asked not to have olives included in it, she was served peas and celery instead of asparagus as listed on the menu, drink service was slow and staff tried to charge her for two meals after she had sent the first dish back.

Katz said in court that two years of harassment  came after her complaint s about the meal at Mambo in May, 2009.

In court, Justice Diane Lahaie concluded that Simoes was the individual who sent e-mails to Katz’s bosses at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in which she pretended to be Katz, saying she was “a tiger in the bedroom” and a transgendered person who enjoyed threesomes and group sex. The judge also found Simoes was the author of a fake highly sexualized profile of Katz on a  dating site.

None of these things were true.

Police traced the dating profile through an IP address to Simoes’ computer.

In court Simoes’ lawyer  argued that her restaurant manager  Sandra Diaz or husband and restaurant co-owner Zadek Ramowski could have used her computer to send the e-mails and post the dating profile. However, Justice Lahaie  believed Diaz and Ramowski when they testified it wasn’t them.

Lahaie saw strking similarities between the writing style of an e-mail sent by Simoes to Ottawa restaurant review site RestaurantThing.com and the style in the defamatory e-mails and dating site posting. Also, Simoe said in the e-mail to the administrator of the website.  “I have been recently fighting back to prove a point  to her and to hopefully scare her off, and you guys turn around and take away my postings of defence and leave her postings of pure lies and malintent!”

The administrator of eventually stopped posting reviews of Mambo and Kinki because of “continued abuse by owner and others.”

Simoes had demanded that the website stop showing reviews  of her restaurant.

After Katz’s review of  Mambo appeared, there was a series of postings on the same site calling her crazy.

In her letter to the website, Simoes accused Katz of being responsible for all negative reviews of Kinki and Mambo since the month she had her unsatisfactory experience at Mambo, and accused Katz of using different names and getting her friends to post reviews as well.

In giving her verdict, Justice Lahae said that the messages Simoes sent in June 2010 were “not just inappropriate, they were criminal.”

 

 

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