Neil Cantrill and two associates were found guilty of kidnapping, extortion and other charges relating to a 2016 incident in Hope. They appeared in BC Supreme Court in New Westminster July 17. (Tracy Holmes photo)

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@yukon-news.com

Yukon courts

Just Posted

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Most Read