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'Gay painter' jibe not defamation rules Scottish court

Dunfermline Sheriff court believes no 'reasonable person' would believe insult

'Gay painter' jibe not defamation rules Scottish court

A painter and decorator in Scotland has lost a legal battle against a friend who referred to him as a ‘gay painter’.

The sheriff ruling in the defamation case brought by George Cowan, called the situation ‘deeply regrettable’ but did not think the victim defamed.

It was alleged that the accused, Mark Bennett, had left Cowan ‘upset and embarrassed’ after calling him ‘the gay painter’ at weekly meetings of a business network. The network was founded by Bennett.

Cowan also felt that his reputation had been lowered in the eyes of the local business community.

After placing a claim for £10,000 ($16,000) in compensation from part-time comedian Bennett, Cowan was expelled from the business network.

After the expulsion, the decorator discovered that business cards for his services had been found with sexual comments added. Bennett denied that it was he who had defaced the stationery.

The BBC reports that, in his written judgement, Sheriff Kenneth McGowan states ‘no reasonable person’ who witnessed the exchange between the pair would believe Cowan to be gay.

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