It’s official: Star reporter Daniel Dale is going to sue Rob Ford over “pedophile” suggestion [UPDATED]

It’s official: Star reporter Daniel Dale is going to sue Rob Ford over “pedophile” suggestion [UPDATED]

It seems as though Rob Ford has earned himself another defamation lawsuit. (He’s 1-0 on these things, so far.) Daniel Dale—the Toronto Star reporter whose sexual proclivities Ford called into question during an interview with Conrad Black that aired on Monday—will apparently be taking the unusual step of suing the man whose mayoralty it’s his job to cover. Star editor Michael Cooke tweeted the news, but also told the Globe that his newspaper’s lawyers were at city hall on Thursday evening to serve the mayor with a notice of libel.

Now that Ford has been served, Dale has six weeks to file a more formal statement of claim, although the mayor and Vision TV have three days to respond to the libel notice, which is calling for a full retraction and apology from Ford and the station. “Part of the rationale is that if the mayor wished to apologize or retract the statements that gives him an opportunity,” said Dale’s lawyer, Iris Fischer of the firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. The Toronto Star is paying Dale’s legal bills. “I’m not saying that would indicate what my client’s next step might be. I don’t know that at this point.”

Dale says that despite the complications of the legal process, it “is, simply, now necessary.”

As my libel notice says, I’m asking Ford to immediately retract the false insinuation that I am a pedophile and all of his false statements about my conduct on May 2, 2012. I’m also asking Ford and Vision owner ZoomerMedia to apologize immediately “publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely.”

Dale goes on to say he initially did not want to take this route, but that the mayor’s persistence—especially his statements this morning on American sports radio, in which he reiterated many of the controversial comments about Dale—convinced him that legal action was necessary. “I so strongly did not want to do this that I had a whole announcement written about why I was going to take the high road and give Ford a pass for his defamation against me,” writes Dale on the Star‘s website, but he changed his mind after the mayor repeated his claims. Here’s a brief rundown of them:

• Dale was “looking over [Ford’s] fence taking pictures”
• Dale was “taking pictures in the backyard”
• Dale was caught “with his camera”
• Dale was standing on cinder blocks “in [Ford’s] backyard”

Dale’s legal action represents a reversal in the months-old Rob Ford story. It was not a month ago that the mayor vowed to sue “the media”—along with various staffers and a waiter—for statements made in police documents. Meanwhile, Dale says he will not step down from his post covering the man he will be suing. “I will not let this affect my job. I will not be bullied off of my beat,” he writes. “I can, and will, continue to cover [the Ford brothers] with the utmost professionalism.”

Mayor Ford left city hall around 6 p.m. on Thursday, after the libel notice had been served, and did not comment on the Dale situation (though he did talk about Nelson Mandela). Doug Ford, however, shrugged when he heard the news, saying “Rob shouldn’t be defending himself, Daniel Dale should be defending himself…As far as I’m concerned they have no grounds to sue [Rob Ford] whatsoever.”

“Well,” tweeted Dale, “that’s what I’m doing”