(Ottawa, October 24) DawgNews has learned that the once-popular CBC weatherman Ian Black was sentenced to a eighteen-month jail term today for public mischief, after being found guilty by an Ottawa judge of “misleading weather predictions causing harm to the community.”
Uncontradicted evidence had been submitted to the court that Black, on numerous occasions in the past year, referred to a “possibility of precipitation,” without exercising due diligence to warn citizens of impending heavy snowfalls and thunderstorms.
“My car went into a ditch after skidding on a patch of ice,” prosecution witness Elmer Fairfield testified. “The unexpected snow had concealed it from view.”
Lettie Hollander, a spokesperson for the Westboro Unified Church, testified that a summer picnic she had helped to organize at the Experimental Farm had been “utterly ruined.” “We were soaked to the skin,” she said. “And our sandwiches were too soggy to eat.”
Asked if she often listened to Black’s forecasts, she stated that she had done so daily before this incident occurred. “Look, I don’t know a kilopascal from an isobar, and neither does anybody else,” she said. “But I know enough to stay out of the rain, and I trusted Black to tell me if it was going to come down. Never again.”
Similar testimony was given by scores of other prosecution witnesses, many of whom suffered indoor damage and drenched carseats this past spring and summer after leaving windows open, or contracted serious colds.
Black’s defence team called expert witnesses from the scientific community who testified that predictions could never be made with absolute certainty, and that Black had been clear about this by referring only to possibilities.
Judge Giorgio Jefferies was unmoved. “The defendant knew from his scientific sources that snow or rainstorms were likely on a number of occasions,” he said. “Yet he failed to warn people to take proper precautions.”
“You occupied a position of authority,” he said before pronouncing sentence. “You had a duty of care to your listeners. You betrayed their trust. People might even have died as a direct result of your indifference and neglect.”
Black’s employment has been terminated by the CBC, which is no longer producing weather reports. CBC spokesman Tina Stersberg stated in a tersely-worded press release: “You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.” Meanwhile, a class action suit against Black and his former employer has been launched by the Fairweather Friends Coalition. Black and his lawyers were unavailable for comment.