An Ottawa restaurant owner who created a fake online sex profile of a complaining customer should be sentenced to three months in jail, the Crown said during a sentencing hearing Thursday.
Marisol Simoes, co-owner of the restaurants Kinki and Mambo, in Ottawa’s ByWard Market, was found guilty in September on two counts of defamatory libel.
Prosecutors said Simoes set up a fake profile at adultcyberdating.com for Elayna Katz, a customer who posted a negative review of Mambo after reportedly receiving bad service and a wrong order at the restaurant.
Simoes was also said to have sent an email to Katz’s bosses at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, declaring: “Couples, threesomes and group sex. Am especially into transsexuals and transgender (being one myself.) I am a handful in many ways and a tiger in the bedroom.”
Katz dined at Mambo in 2009, where she said she was served a meal with olives in it after asking for no olives. When she sent the dish back and asked for another, restaurant staff demanded she pay for both, Katz said.
Katz posted a negative review at restaurantthing.com after her calls to the restaurant’s manager were not returned. Following the review, she found herself the target of an online smear campaign that reportedly lasted two years.
Katz told the court her “clean and good reputation has forever been tarnished” by the defamation, according to the Ottawa Citizen. She said she suffered sleepless nights and was “an emotional wreck.”
Simoes’ lawyer, Henry Burr, said Simoes should be spared jail because she has been punished enough by the public humiliation that came with wide-spread attention to the case in the press, the Ottawa Sun reported. He said Simoes’ restaurants have suffered from declining sales since the incident.
But Crown attorney John Semenoff said Simoes’ “venomous” conduct, combined with her continuing claim of innocence, requires jail time.