October 14, 2014 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – A disgruntled yacht-owner will have to pay $40,000 to the business that sold him the boat after he made false allegations about the business’s sales manager.
Robert Turpin, of 100 Mile House, paid $1,160,000 to purchase a used 64-foot yacht from Ocean Alexander Marine Yacht Sales, a business based near Seattle, but when he got it he discovered the windows needed to be replaced. Sales manager Ray Prokorym offered to split the cost of replacing two windows with Turpin who wanted all the windows replaced.
Dissatisfied, Turpin sent an email to Prokorym and three of his coworkers falsely claiming Prokorym had committed criminal acts.
"Turpin was clearly trying to effect a favourable settlement of his dispute over the yacht transaction by threatening to publish a completely fabricated allegation of the most despicable criminal offence he could think of," Justice Ian Meiklem said in his reasons for judgment after a hearing in Kamloops Supreme Court.
Following his first email, the boat-owner sent a second message threatening to share his allegations with associates of the business.
The email was forwarded to 36 yacht-related email addresses. Following its release, a lawyer for Ocean Alexander sent out a separate email in an attempt to dispel it.
At the Sept. 15 hearing, Turpin said he couldn’t confirm or deny if he sent the emails as he was either intoxicated or under the influence of painkillers. He added the cost of a defective boat sent his family into a financial tailspin.
Turpin apologized to the business associates targeted by the emails.
“The defendant’s apology and expression of remorse at the summary trial was genuine,” Meiklem said.
Meiklem awarded Prokorym $30,000 in general damages plus an additional $10,000 in punitive damages.
A separate criminal complaint against Turpin was filed with the RCMP. The investigation remains underway.
-This story was corrected at 5:32 p.m. Oct 16 to include punitive damage amount.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014