Former Scottish Labour chief Kezia Dugdale has gained a criminal case which noticed a pro-independence blogger accuse her of defamation.
Wings Over Scotland blogger Stuart Campbell took Ms Dugdale to courtroom after she claimed in a newspaper column that he had despatched “homophobic tweets”.
In a written judgment, Sheriff Nigel Ross stated Ms Dugdale used to be flawed to indicate that Mr Campbell is homophobic.
However he stated her article used to be safe underneath the main of honest remark.
In consequence, the sheriff dominated that Ms Dugdale used to be no longer prone to pay any damages to Mr Campbell, who were in search of £25,000.
The case centred on a tweet posted by means of Mr Campbell all over the Conservative Birthday party convention in 2017, which stated that Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell “is this sort of public speaker that makes you would like his dad had embraced his homosexuality faster.”
In a next column within the Day-to-day Report newspaper, Ms Dugdale referenced his “homophobic tweets” and accused him of spouting “hatred and homophobia against others” from his Twitter account. She later raised the tweets within the Scottish Parliament, and known as on SNP politicians to “shun” Mr Campbell.
Mr Campbell, from Bathtub in Somerset, strongly denied his tweet used to be a homophobic connection with David Mundell being homosexual, and insisted it used to be “satirical complaint” of Oliver Mundell’s public talking talents.
A 3-day listening to came about at Edinburgh Sheriff Courtroom remaining month, all over which Mr Campbell described himself as a “company recommend of equivalent rights for homosexual folks” and stated it used to be “absurd” to explain his tweet as homophobic.
In his judgement, Sheriff Ross agreed that Mr Campbell “does no longer grasp homophobic ideals or emotions” and had “demonstrated by means of his habits over a few years that he helps equality for gay folks”.
The sheriff additionally stated Mr Campbell’s tweet about Mr Mundell “used to be no longer motivated by means of homophobia and didn’t comprise homophobic feedback”, and that Ms Dugdale had due to this fact been “flawed” to explain it as homophobic.
However the sheriff stated: “Mr Dugdale’s article contained the essential parts for a defence of honest remark. It used to be according to true details; the statements complained about have been fair; it involved a question of public passion, and the feedback have been honest.
“Her feedback have been honest, even supposing flawed”.
He added that the defamation legislation recognises that there’s “vital public passion in permitting folks to freely categorical critiques with out concern of criminal penalty”.
Responding to the ruling, Ms Dugdale stated she used to be “extremely joyful and vastly relieved” to have gained the case, and described it as an “vital judgement for the best to loose speech and a wholesome press.
“This ruling obviously demonstrates that each citizen is entitled to make feedback so long as they’re honest and mirror truthfully held perspectives”.
Mr Campbell stated: “I sought to shield my recognition in opposition to a false accusation of homophobia, to determine that I am not a homophobe, and to stop somebody from having the ability to make such claims in long run.
“All of the ones targets were upheld, in particular phrases, by means of this judgement.”
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