There's no other explanation for his behaviour.
In Canada, the Supreme Court ruled last year that a newspaper reporting on slander or libel is not always necessarily guilty of libel itself, even if the defamatory statements themselves are published.
Since his case is about defamation, he's going to lose, and I expect the opinion (reserved since 7 Dec) to be a scathing chastisement indirectly aimed at his counsel.
As far as hyperlinking being publishing... what rot. No librarian would ever say the card index is the stacks, no cartographer would ever say the map is the territory.