Calgary

Arthur Kent collects $260K from Postmedia following defamation lawsuit

Canada's largest newspaper chain has paid a former NBC war correspondent $260,000 in damages following a successful defamation lawsuit.

Hearing will take place in October to determine who will pay legal costs

Former TV journalist Arthur Kent outside court during a break in his lawsuit against Postmedia and other individuals related to a 2008 column in Calgary. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

The deadline for Postmedia to appeal has passed, and Canada's largest newspaper chain has paid Arthur Kent $260,000 in damages following the former NBC war correspondent's successful defamation lawsuit.

Justice Jo'Anne Strekaf awarded Kent $200,000 in damages last month — $150,000 in general damages from Martin and Postmedia and another $50,000 from Postmedia — after the paper kept up a column online deemed defamatory during the trial.

On top of that figure, Postmedia also paid Kent about $60,000 in interest.

The deadline for Postmedia to appeal the decision was last Friday, and no court documents have been filed.

The issue of legal costs still has to be addressed. Although Kent would not say what the dollar figure will be, he did indicate the figure would be significant after a lengthy legal battle.

"They will be very, very considerable given this was an eight-year court process," said Kent.

The two parties are in the process of exchanging briefs outlining their legal costs. Kent says his will be filed on July 15, with Postmedia's expected a week later.

A short hearing will take place on Oct. 28. 

Column caused Kent 'substantial distress'

In the column, Kent was described as having an oversized ego and an unorganized and incompetent campaign.

He claimed that article injured his reputation, character and credibility.

Kent — who was nicknamed the "Scud Stud" while he was reporting for NBC during the Persian Gulf War — sued Don Martin, Postmedia and the National Post over the article written during his bid for a Progressive Conservative seat in the 2008 provincial election.

Martin, who was a National Post columnist at the time, wrote an article about Kent's campaign referring to Kent as the "Scud Dud."

In her judgment, Strekaf found Kent "suffered substantial distress and damage as a result of the defamatory factual statements." 

No comment from newspaper

Both the National Post and Calgary Herald refused to publish Kent's rebuttal to the article.

The trial was held by judge alone after the jury was dismissed in November, with the judge citing "inflammatory" and prejudicial remarks made by Kent's lawyer.

"We find much in the courts judgment that is hugely encouraging," Kent said.

Aside from the issue of legal costs that still must be determined, Kent says there is something else he would like to see.

"I'm wondering why can't Canada's largest newspaper publisher comment on its position on this judgment?"

Postmedia did not respond to CBC's request for comment.

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