In Plese v Herjavec, 2015 ONSC 7572, the husband, Robert Herjavec (who is, notably, a star on the popular television show, Dragon’s Den) argued against “online” evidence, which indicated that his income and net worth were much higher than what he had claimed, being included in the Court proceedings. The wife, through her lawyer, attempted to enter a number of exhibits as evidence of the husband’s net worth, including a Wikipedia page that reported his net worth at $200 million; other social media and online reports that his net worth was over $100 million; and a book, written by the husband, wherein he indicated that he had sold his company for $100 million.
The husband challenged the inclusion of this evidence in Court, arguing that he could not control what was published online. In response, the wife argued that she was simply attempting to use the “online” evidence to demonstrate that there was serious reason to doubt the accuracy of the husband’s evidence and representations. The Court noted that the evidence presented by the wife did raise issues of credibility as to whether the husband was to be believed with respect to his income and net worth. Ultimately, the Court allowed the “online” evidence presented by the wife into the proceedings, but later noted that it had not relied on this evidence in respect of its’ analysis of the husband’s income.
In this case, “online” evidence regarding the husband’s financial situation was considered but ultimately not relied on by the Court. However, there can be no doubt that online and other social media evidence is often admitted and heavily considered in family law proceedings. It’s important for family law litigants to understand the consequences of what is being posted on the internet, by them or even about them by others.