Kezia Dugdale wins Wings Over Scotland defamation case
Legal action against former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale by pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell has failed after a judge found her accusation that he had made homophobic tweets ‘fair comment’.
The Wings Over Scotland blogger took Dugdale to court in a £25,000 defamation action over an article she wrote for the Daily Record.
Sheriff Nigel Ross ruled 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.
“Despite incorrectly implying that Mr Campbell is homophobic, her article is protected under the principle of fair comment,” he said.
“She is not liable to pay damages to Mr Campbell.”
He added: “If I had I been awarding damages, those damages would have been assessed at £100.”
Campbell tweeted that he was taking counsel on whether to appeal the decision.
“Short version: I'm not a homophobe, she did defame me, but she gets away with it,” he tweeted.
In a statement Dugdale said: “I am delighted to have won this case and hugely relieved after two long years of it hanging over me.
She also thanked the Daily Record, adding: “This is an important judgement for the right to free speech and a healthy press.
“This ruling clearly demonstrates that every citizen is entitled to make comments as long as they are fair and reflect honestly held views.”