Former TV journalist Arthur Kent has been awarded another $200,000 in costs related to his prolonged legal battle against Postmedia and its one-time columnist Don Martin.
The ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeal brings his total payout on the lawsuit to $650,000, including $450,000 in costs.
Kent filed the appeal to increase the costs he should be awarded, not challenging the $200,000 given for damages. He had originally asked for $1.2 million in damages.
It’s likely the final chapter in a long battle that started with a controversial column written by Martin in 2008.
‘Scathing’ article ruled defamatory
Kent was running as a candidate in the Alberta provincial election at that time, under the banner of the Progressive Conservatives.
Martin’s article was, as described in court documents, “scathing.” It was also found to contain “many” defamatory comments.
The court proceedings were contentious, something the original trial judge attributed to both sides and which the appeal court did not address.
Kent filed his appeal, arguing in part that there was an “intentional strategic decision to conceal” documents and a “fraudulent concealment of records.”
He said this contributed to distrust and resulting higher legal costs from what court documents describe as “endless pre-trial court applications.”
Emails not shared
The charges stemmed from the fact Postmedia initially failed to disclose and share emails that were central to the case and then provided redacted copies when it did.
The trial judge reduced Kent’s original cost payout based on the grounds that Kent made allegations about intentional and fraudulent concealment without proof.
Kent argued the court ultimately determined those allegations were true and his costs should not have been reduced.
The appeal court agreed.
Statement from Kent
In its ruling, it said “the trial judge did err, and that the evidence and factual findings she made regarding these allegations established that both had been proven.”
The court said it came to the decision to increase the cost payment by $200,000 based on the seriousness of withholding pertinent information “and the need to discourage it.”
After the decision, Kent released a statement.
“I thank the Court of Appeal for today’s decision. Martin, Postmedia and their lawyers apparently believed they were above the truth. Then they acted as though they were above the law. They were wrong on both counts,” he wrote.
“The last place a Canadian citizen should be defrauded is in a court of law. Especially by a news outlet and their lawyers, and a person who calls himself a journalist.”