Father of slain realtor Lindsay Buziak sued for defamation over comments made on his website

The mother of the former boyfriend of Lindsay Buziak has launched a defamation lawsuit against the slain realtor’s father, marking a stunning development in one of BC’s highest-profile unsolved murder cases.

Legal counsel for Shirley Zailo filed the notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on April 25 and names Lindsay’s father, Jeff Buziak, as well as Vancouver resident Jane Kavanagh, as defendants.

“For the longest time Miss Zailo didn’t want to commence a defamation lawsuit against someone who lost their daughter but all efforts to say ‘stop accusing me of murder’ have just been rebuffed or ignored,” said Zailo’s lawyer Michael Scherr.

The lawsuit alleges that Kavanagh, using online aliases, published “defamatory” comments on a blog website owned and operated by Jeff Buziak.

On one post made by Jeff on June 14, 2019, Kavanagh allegedly published false comments implying that Zailo — whose son Jason dated Lindsay prior to her murder — killed the realtor, planned her murder or participated in her killing, Zailo’s lawyers claim.

In another post made Dec. 5, 2019, Kavanagh allegedly implied, falsely, that Zailo was a “psychopath,” that she was “jealous of Lindsay’s youth and good heart” and planned and executed her murder, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit details subsequent posts allegedly made by Kavanagh implying that Zailo had a hand in Lindsay’s murder and “bought” off members of the Saanich Police Department.

RELATED: FBI assisting with Lindsay Buziak murder case 13 years after her brutal killing

In each instance, lawyers claim Jeff Buziak jointly published, or arranged to have published, Kavanagh’s posts, saying he was aware of the defamatory words published on his website and that he not only failed to remove them but also “encouraged people to publish defamatory words of the plaintiff.”

“The defendants published and continue to publish Defamatory Words with knowledge that the Inferential Meanings were false, or alternatively, with reckless indifference whether they were true or false, and/or for the predominant purpose of harming the plaintiff and exposing her to hatred, ridicule and contempt, lowering the plaintiff in the estimation of others, and causing her to be shunned and avoided,” wrote Scherr.

Buziak told CHEK News he was extremely disappointed to learn about the civil suit. “It angers me of course, it saddens me, it disgusts me, and you know it stresses me out. It’s disgusting especially when the focus should be pressing the authorities to get the job done, that’s where the focus should be, that’s my focus.”

He said he was surprised to learn he could be held responsible for other people’s comments.

“Because somebody owns a social media site, you have to suffer the consequences of other people putting their personal opinions on there I think is ludicrous,” he said.

The claim states that Zailo has suffered loss and damages to her reputation, loss of income, stress, anxiety and other mental suffering as a result, and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages as well as an injunction against Jeff and Kavanagh to prevent them from publishing further defamatory statements.

“She’s accused of killing someone… can you imagine just how that feels? And she’s had people in her own community treat her differently because of these allegations and that’s terrible, people shouldn’t have to live with that, ”Scherr said.

Zailo has also filed a separate defamation lawsuit against Chilliwack resident Nora Leisa Munro, alleging that she also published defamatory comments on Jeff Buziak’s website using fake names.

Many of Munro’s comments, according to the claim, echo Kavanagh’s, falsely inferring that Zailo participated in or witnessed the murder of Lindsay Buziak.

Zailo is also seeking unspecified damages and an injunction in that lawsuit.

None of the allegations against Buziak, Kavanagh or Munro have been tested or proven in court. None of the defendants have yet filed a response to the claims.

Lindsay, 24, was murdered while showing a home located at 1702 De Sousa Place in Saanich on Feb. 2, 2008. Her killer has never been caught.

Lindsay Buziak is seen with her father, Jeff. (Submitted)

She had been showing the home to two potential buyers — a man and a woman who remain unidentified — when she was fatally stabbed more than 40 times in the upstairs bedroom of the home sometime in the evening hours. Jason Zailo, her boyfriend of her, discovered her body of her inside the vacant home shortly after becoming concerned when he could n’t reach her and called 911.

Police publicly declared early on in the investigation that Jason Zailo and his family were not considered suspects in the case and had “satisfied every investigative request” asked of them.

Buziak’s murder has been the subject of intense scrutiny from investigators as well as the general public, spawning multiple podcasts, stories from international media outlets and an appearance on the Dr. Phil show.

Saanich Police Department has headed up the investigation but last year, police announced that it had launched a new task force actively investigating the murder with help from the FBI.

“Investigators are reviewing and retesting evidence, including items from the crime scene as well as digital evidence. Technology not available at the time of the crime has allowed us to develop new investigative leads,” Saanich Police spokesman Const. Markus Anastasiades said at the time.

Police said on Wednesday there have been no new updates since the task force was launched in February 2021.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Saanich Police Department at 250-475-4356 or toll free at 1-888-980-1919.

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