A co-owner of two Ottawa restaurants was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Friday in a rare criminal defamation case.
Marisol Simoes, co-owner of Kinki and Mambo, was found guilty in September on two counts of defamatory libel after posting a racy, fake dating profile of Mambo customer Elayna Katz, as well as sending sexually inappropriate emails pretending to be from Katz to the customer's co-workers.
The judge granted the Crown’s request for a jail term, the Ottawa Citizen and CTV News report, rejecting defence arguments that Simoes had been punished enough as a result of the public humiliation that came with widespread media attention to her case.
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.
Simoes was said to have sent an email to Katz’s bosses at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, pretending to be from Katz and 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,” according to eater.com.
Simoes was also said to have set up a fake adultcyberdating.com profile for Katz with similar claims.
Besides the 90 days in jail, Simoes was ordered to take anger management classes and carry out 200 hours of community service, CBC reported.
Though Canada has a criminal defamation statute on the books, it’s rarely used and most cases of defamation end up in civil courts in the form of a lawsuit. Only the most egregious cases are prosecuted in criminal court.
Simoes is now involved in another court case, this one a lawsuit against a real estate developer. Simoes and her husband, Radek Zamowski, are suing Morguard Corp. after the company reportedly terminated a lease that would have seen the couple open a restaurant in Morguard's new Ottawa high-rise.
Simoes and Zamowski are suing Morguard for $1.5 million, the Ottawa Business Journal reported.
— With earlier reporting