Ritchie Sinclair v Joseph Otavnik (2009)




(Toronto Small Claims Court)

 Dismissed at Trial
Ritchie Sinclair
(Morrisseau’s former protégé)
Joseph Otavnik
(art retailer) 


A June 10 2009 Defendant’s Claim for $25 000 for defamation, harassment and vexatious litigation.
Status: Ritchie Sinclair filed a Defendant’s Claim for harassment against Joe Otavnik in the Otavnik v Sinclair   action on June 10 2009. Sinclair’s Claim was dismissed at trial however the Honourable Judge Godfrey’s Reasons produced several findings including the following extracted from his January 11 2011 Judgment:

The harassment claim relates to a history of litigation involving Mr. Sinclair and others as defendants. Mr. Otavnik is a party plaintiff to some but not all of these actions. All these actions relate to one fundamental common issue, being the allegations of fake Morrisseau paintings.
Mr. Sinclair also alleged that Mr. Otavnik has deleted many references on the Wikipedia website relating to Norval Morrisseau and defamed Mr. Sinclair under the screen names of “123 The Habs” and “123 Maddie”. Mr. Otavnik denies using these screen names, although Mr. Sinclair established by Exhibit Eight that Mr. Otavnik has used the screen name “Maddie 123CA”.
As such, I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Mr. Otavnik is one and the same as “The Habs One”. I also find it is more than a coincidence that Mr. Otavnik also has the screen name of “Maddie 123CA” with AOL and that the screen names used on the Wikipedia alterations and comments are “123 Maddie” and “123 Habs”. I find that all those screen names are probably Mr. Otavnik.

Jan 11 2011 Judgment of Honourable Judge Godfrey

Plaintiff Exhibits

On April 6 2010 Joe Otavnik was arrested and charged by the Toronto Police Service (53 Division) for the alleged assault and criminal harassment of Ritchie Sinclair. The Otavnik Criminal Court matter came to trial on Feb 24 2012 and was adjourned to March 2013. The Crown failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and Mr. Otavnik was found Not Guilty on May 17 2013. Mr. Otavnik sued the Toronto Police Services Board and four officers in Oshawa Small Claims Court in 2010 for charging him. His action was dismissed with court costs against him in December 2013, which reportedly remain unpaid.