Blogger ordered to pay Kezia Dugdale's legal costs in defamation case

Written by Gemma Fraser on 9 July 2019 in News

The Wings Over Scotland blogger says he expects the final legal bill to be in the region of £100,000

Image credit: David Anderson

A pro-independence blogger who lost his defamation case against former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has been ordered to pay her full legal expenses.

Wings Over Scotland blogger Stuart Campbell took Dugdale to court in a £25,000 defamation action over an article she wrote for the Daily Record accusing him of making homophobic tweets.

A sheriff ruled in April that Dugdale's article was “fair comment”, despite also stating that Campbell “does not hold homophobic beliefs or feelings”.

Sheriff Nigel Ross said that Dugdale’s opinion was “not correct” and contained “a defamatory meaning” but that her article was “comment or opinion” and therefore protected under a legal principle that a comment can be fair even if it is wrong.

The court has now awarded full expenses to Dugdale, as well as a 50 per cent "uplift" which Campbell said he expects to equate to around £100,000.

Writing on his blog, he described the verdict in the hearing over costs as “incomprehensible”.

He added: “Full costs were awarded despite the sheriff having found that the core complaint on which the case was brought – namely that Dugdale had unjustly defamed me with a damaging and wholly false claim that I was a homophobe – was in fact wholly upheld, and that I had indeed been so defamed.”

Campbell indicated he planned to appeal the sheriff’s ruling in the defamation case against Dugdale, which centred on a tweet he posted in which he said that Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell "is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner."

In her newspaper column, Dugdale made reference to his "homophobic tweets" and accused him of spouting "hatred and homophobia towards others" from his Twitter account.

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