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Civil jury finds former BC premier Vander Zalm guilty of defamation

VANCOUVER - Former premier Bill Vander Zalm has been found guilty of defamation and has been ordered to pay $60,000 in compensation.

A B.C. Supreme Court civil jury sided with former conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes, who launched the civil action after reading Vander Zalm's 2008 book.

The book claimed Hughes was biased and politically partisan while leading the inquiry that forced Vander Zalm from office.

Hughes concluded in his 1991 probe that the premier mixed his public and private affairs in the sale of his Fantasy Gardens theme park.

The preface of Vander Zalm's book, published 17 years later, suggests Hughes wore a mask of integrity and spread lies and the book promises to reveal Vander Zalm's version of events.

Hughes says he's very satisfied with the decision and after 60 years in the justice system, it's been quite an experience to see it working from the other side.

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