File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Patrick Fox of Burnaby, B.C., is shown in this undated handout image. The British Columbia man, convicted of criminally harassing his ex-wife, says she and her fiance insulted and taunted him in emails for years before he created a revenge website targeting her.

Man who created revenge site says he was provoked

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia man convicted of criminally harassing his ex-wife says he created a revenge website to destroy her reputation because she insulted him in emails and had him deported without their teenage son.

Patrick Fox told his sentencing hearing on Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court that he blames Desiree Capuano for his deportation from the U.S. in 2013 following his conviction for perjury. She had custody of their son at the time.

“If she had allowed (our son) to choose where he was going to live … maybe I might not have felt or believed that Desiree was such an evil person that the whole world should know the kind of person she is,” he said.

Fox was found guilty by a jury in June of criminally harassing Capuano through threatening emails and the website, which maligns her as a white supremacist, drug addict and child abuser. He also posted private photos and her phone number and address.

He repeatedly defended his online posts on Tuesday and claimed that the allegations are all true to the best of his knowledge.

Fox, a Canadian citizen, testified that Capuano informed U.S. authorities that he was staying in the country illegally following his perjury conviction. He said that after border agents dropped him off at the Washington state-B.C. border in 2013, he was homeless for a period.

Crown counsel Mark Myhre questioned Fox about the factual basis for blog posts in which he described Capuano’s fiance as a drug user and Capuano as a white supremacist. The posts are written as if she is the author, with titles including, “Yes, I am a racist.”

Fox responded that he assumes her fiance uses caffeine, which is a drug, and pointed to an email in which Capuano compared him to a “dirty Mexican.”

He also defended a post in which he described the logistics of travelling to Arizona, where Capuano lives, and shooting her. He said he was merely responding to her allegation in a CBC story that she feared he would cross the border to shoot her.

“Otherwise, it would be a situation where Ms. Capuano could go on the news and say anything she wants about me and I can’t defend myself at all,” he said.

He also alleged that Capuano has not taken meaningful steps to get the website taken down. Myhre responded that she repeatedly complained to police, as well as the company that hosts the website, and went to an Arizona court to get a protective order.

“I don’t believe she really wants it taken down,” Fox replied.

Fox arrived at the sentencing hearing on Tuesday in a red prison jumpsuit and carrying a stack of 700 pages of emails, dating back to 2011, which he alleged showed that Capuano and her fiance had threatened and taunted him for years before he created the website.

Myhre told the judge that Fox had initiated many of the conversations.

“They amount to nothing more than petty squabbling … and just don’t possibly amount to the kind of thing that might be considered provocation,” Myhre said.

Fox also submitted to the court audio recordings of radio and television interviews Capuano conducted. He said a CBC story in February 2016, which prompted widespread media coverage, made him look like a “monster.”

He said Capuano’s “false claims” and the negative media attention cost him his job, friends and business associates. His favourite restaurants stopped serving him, he added.

Capuano has also filed a lawsuit against Fox alleging defamation, emotional distress, intimidation and loss of economic opportunities. She is seeking damages and an order requiring Fox to take down the website.

None of the allegations contained in the notice of civil claim has been proven and Fox has not yet had an opportunity to respond.

The sentencing hearing is expected to continue through Wednesday.

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

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