Waterloo’s fluoride debate is more than a year past but a bitter court battle continues as key players square off over a hard-fought referendum.
Politicians stopped fluoridating drinking water after residents voted narrowly against it in 2010. Fluoride had been added as a public health measure to prevent cavities.
Wednesday, lawyers sparred over municipal charges against pro-fluoride dentists Dr. Harry Hoediono, Dr. Ira Kirshen and the Ontario Dental Association.
Crown prosecutor Ralph Cotter is pursuing charges laid in 2010 by antifluoridation activist Robert Fleming. Dentists are accused of violating election financing rules by participating in a fluoride debate before signing on as referendum participants.
The dentists want the charges quashed, arguing they were improperly laid as part of a campaign by Fleming to intimidate them and muzzle them. Cotter defends the charges and likened Fleming to David fighting Goliath.
“The David and Goliath scenario is a little troubling,” defence lawyer Murray Stieber countered. He points to an affidavit from Hoediono in which the dentist says he felt “physically intimidated” by Fleming.
In the affidavit, Hoediono said antifluoridation activists threatened him by voice mail, doctored news videos to undermine him and tried to infect his computer with viruses sent by email. Cotter dismissed allegations against Fleming as unfounded conjecture and speculation.
Justice of the peace Arthur Child expects to rule early next year on quashing the charges or proceeding to trial.