Former journalist Arthur Kent wins ‘Dud Scud’ defamation lawsuit against Postmedia

Former television war correspondent Arthur Kent choked back tears Wednesday after winning an eight-year-old lawsuit against one of Canada's largest media companies over a column that called him "Dud Scud."

CALGARY — Former television war correspondent Arthur Kent choked back tears Wednesday after winning an eight-year-old lawsuit against one of Canada’s largest media companies over a column that called him “Dud Scud.”

A judge ruled that Postmedia and its former columnist Don Martin defamed Kent while he was running for a seat in the Alberta legislature in 2008.

“I’m feeling a measure of vindication from the ruling,” Kent said outside court. “Truth still matters in journalism — and isn’t that good news. Truth, accuracy and balance matter on the Internet and … no genuine journalist will be anything but reassured and encouraged by this court decision.”

Justice Jo’Anne Strekaf ruled that the article “when read as a whole would cause right-thinking members of society to think less of Mr. Kent.”

She said the damage to Kent’s reputation was “exacerbated by the exaggerations and sarcastic tone in the article, by aspects of Mr. Martin’s conduct and by the unfairness to Mr. Kent from Mr. Martin’s failure to provide him with an opportunity to respond prior to publication of the article.”

“While the article did not accuse Mr. Kent of any illegal or immoral acts, it characterized him as an egotistical, politically naive, arrogant candidate whose campaign was in disarray,” she wrote.

She awarded Kent a total of $200,000 in damages from the defendants — $150,000 from Martin and Postmedia for the article and an additional $50,000 from Postmedia for continuing to publish the article online.

Martin referred calls to CTV, where he is now a host. CTV also declined to comment. Postmedia’s Phyllise Gelfand would only say the company is “reviewing the decision.”

Kent, who got the nickname “Scud Stud” while reporting for NBC during the Persian Gulf war, was a star candidate for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives during the 2008 campaign, but was on record as disagreeing with some party policies.

Martin’s column, which used unnamed sources, painted Kent as an out-of-control, egomaniac who had alienated party staff.

“Alberta Conservatives have bestowed problem candidate Arthur Kent with a less flattering designation as he noisily blusters his way through their reeling election campaign — the Dud Scud,” Martin wrote.

The Tories went on to win a majority in the election, but Kent lost his race.

The trial heard from Martin’s sources.

Lawyer Kristine Robidoux acknowledged that she sent Martin emails from Tory insiders complaining about Kent, but said she regretted doing that after seeing the article.

Party insider Alan Hallman testified he had no problem feeding Martin information, because he thought Kent had embarrassed the party.

The two central figures also testified.

Kent called the article a bomb that cratered his campaign and has since prevented him from pursuing other political opportunities.

Martin testified that, while the article may have run on news pages, it was clearly an opinion piece based on extensive research.

But under cross-examination, he acknowledged that the line about Progressive Conservatives calling Kent the “Dud Scud” had come from only one source, whose name he couldn’t remember.

“I’d write it differently today,” Martin said.

Martin testified that he left a voice message seeking Kent’s response before the article was published, but the final version had no comment from him.

Postmedia later refused to publish a rebuttal that Kent submitted.

Just Posted

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Red Deer Hospice celebrates hitting fundraising halfway mark

Red Deer Hospice Society in middle of $5.2-million expansion

Separate events raised funds for Alzheimer’s and cancer

Nearly half of Canadians will be diagnosed with a form of cancer in their lifetimes.

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

VANCOUVER — A former Liberal environment minister is urging Prime Minister Justin… Continue reading

School bus driver charged with drunk driving

THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — Three impaired driving-related charges have been laid… Continue reading

Canadians in Hong Kong worried for neighbours as protests roil former colony

As mass protests in Hong Kong grab headlines around the world, expatriate… Continue reading

To hit environment goals, feds should create ‘super’ tax credit, report says

OTTAWA — A government-struck expert panel is calling for new “super-deduction” tax… Continue reading

Calgary’s Michael Klukas to live childhood ambition in Stampeders opener

CALGARY — The dream never died for Michael Klukas. Born and raised… Continue reading

Thompson sustains torn left ACL in Warriors’ Game 6 loss

OAKLAND, Calif. — Klay Thompson sustained a torn ACL in his left… Continue reading

Championship timeline: Reliving the Toronto Raptors’ road to the NBA title

The Toronto Raptors captured their first NBA championship in franchise history on… Continue reading

Top 20 Global Concert Tours from Pollstar

The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office… Continue reading

Swift calls out homophobes on new song, announces 7th album

NEW YORK — Taylor Swift’s latest song has a new target: homophobes.… Continue reading

Blue Jays hit 3 HRs, notch 17 hits in 12-3 rout of Orioles

Blue Jays 12, Orioles 3 BALTIMORE — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered to… Continue reading

Most Read