Wings over Scotland blogger loses Kezia Dugdale ‘homophobic tweet’ appeal

Stuart CampbellImage copyright

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Mr Campbell is a prominent blogger in favour of Scottish independence

A pro-independence blogger has lost his appeal in Scotland’s highest civil court in a defamation row with Kezia Dugdale.

The former Scottish Labour leader had been accused by Stuart Campbell of making false statements about him.

In a Daily Record column, she said Mr Campbell had sent “homophobic” tweets.

Mr Campbell said that was an incorrect description of what he had done and would lead readers to believe, wrongly, that he did not like gay people.

Mr Campbell, the Wings Over Scotland blogger, sued Ms Dugdale for £25,000 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Nigel Ross QC ruled against him there.

Mr Campbell then took the case to the Inner House of the Court of Session.

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Kezia Dugdale criticised Mr Campbell in her Daily Record column

It has now issued a judgement in which Lord Carloway, Lord Menzies and Lord Brodie upheld Sheriff Ross’s decision.

They ruled the comments made by Ms Dugdale were fair comment.

The case concerned a tweet from Mr Campbell during the Conservative Party conference in 2017.

In it, he said Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell “is the sort of pubic speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner”.

‘Gratuitous reference’

In the Daily Record, Ms Dugdale wrote that Mr Campbell had sent “homophobic tweets”.

She accused him of spouting “hatred and homophobia” towards others.

In the judgement from the Court of Session, Lord Carloway wrote: “The court agrees with the sheriff’s conclusion that this was indeed fair comment.

“The pursuer’s tweet was a derogatory remark containing a gratuitous reference to Oliver Mundell’s father’s homosexuality.

“The defender’s comments may have been expressed in strong, if not inflammatory, language.

“The fact that they are in “vituperative or contumelious language” does not avoid the defence.”

‘Satirical criticism’

Mr Campbell, of Bath in Somerset, had strongly denied his tweet was a homophobic reference to Oliver’s father David Mundell being gay and insisted was “satirical criticism” of his public speaking skills.

Lord Carloway said that if they had agreed with Mr Campbell, they would have awarded him £5,000.

He wrote: “The sheriff was right to regard an accusation of homophobia as a serious one in contemporary society.”

Judges Lord Carloway, Lord Menzies and Lord Brodie heard the appeal via video link last month.

BBC News

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