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Former Yukon government mine engineer targeted with slander suit

The lawsuit deals with public statements made at a resource industry conference in Vancouver

The conflict between a mining company operating in the Yukon and the territorial government’s former Chief Mine Engineer has taken another turn as Golden Predator’s CEO is suing over an incident she says amounts to public slander.

Both Paul Christman and the Yukon government are named as defendants in a lawsuit that was filed by Golden Predator Mining Corp. CEO Janet Lee-Sheriff in the British Columbia Supreme Court on May 14.

Lee-Sheriff’s suit claims that Christman falsely and maliciously spoke about her at a mining industry convention in Vancouver. He was employed as Chief Mine Engineer for the Yukon government at the time of the alleged incident.

The notice of claim Lee-Sheriff filed with the B.C. Supreme Court states that Christman loudly and publicly called her a liar following a presentation she made at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (VRIC) in January 2020. The notice of claim says the verbal conflict began after Lee-Sheriff stated that Golden Predator holds a valid Quartz Mining License and Water License for its Brewery Creek Project.

Brewery Creek is a closed gold mine site near Dawson City owned by Golden Predator since 2012. It operated from 1996 to 2001 before a temporary closure and reclamation work began in 2002.

Public Dispute

According to the document filed by Lee-Sheriff, Christman continued to loudly dispute the validity of the licenses for the Brewery Creek Mine during a discussion at Golden Predator’s booth at VRIC. The notice claims he raised his voice and publicly accused Lee-Sheriff of misleading the public.

Lee-Sheriff claims that Christman continued to raise his voice and make aggressive gestures while invading her personal space as the argument escalated.

Finally, the notice of claim states that Christman told Lee-Sheriff’s husband William Sheriff to “get your [expletive] wife under control.” Sheriff is also the executive chairman of Golden Predator.

“The statement is demeaning and impugned the board’s and executive leadership’s governance of Golden Predator as a public corporation that has allegedly failed to apply good corporate governance in the selection and oversight of its CEO. The statement is damaging and deserving of rebuke,” the notice of claim reads.

The suit states that an email was sent to Christman at his Yukon government address two days after the alleged slander took place inviting him to issue an apology. It says no apology was received as of the date the notice of claim was filed.

Lee-Sheriff’s lawsuit states that the licenses for the mine site, which were at the centre of the conflict with Christman, are valid and existing.

Orders and damages

The lawsuit is seeking a declaration that Christman’s words were defamatory. They also want injunctions and orders stopping Christman from repeating the alleged defamatory words and barring him from any involvement with matters between the government and Golden Predator.

Lee-Sheriff and Golden Predator are also seeking an order compelling the Yukon government to launch an independent review of Christman’s work and influence on matters relating to the mining company.

It also seeks damages and legal costs.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been heard nor proven in court.

Christman is also currently engaged in a lawsuit against the Yukon government in which he claims his authority was circumvented during his work overseeing the request for confirmation of Golden Predator’s licenses for Brewery Creek. He also claims he was effectively forced to resign from his position with the department of energy, mines and resources in the wake of his conflict with Golden Predator.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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