Taft ordered to pay $75k in defamation suit
District of Invermere Mayor and BC NDP candidate for Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Gerry Taft has been ordered by the Supreme Court of British Columbia to pay Invermere resident Devin Kazakoff $75,000 in damages and special costs in a recently concluded defamation lawsuit.
Kazakoff, 31, sued Taft, 35, for defamation on comments he posted in a post-story comments section in e-KNOW in January 13, 2016 regarding a BC Deer Protection Society press release that was published in regional media.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice G. C. Weatherill ruled in favour of Kazakoff in a May 4 ruling that orders Taft pay $50,000 for “general damages for the damage to his (Kazakoff’s) reputation” and a further $25,000 for “aggravated damages.”
Punitive damages were declined by the judge who also awarded special costs to Kazakoff, represented by Cranbrook QC Neil M Robertson.
‘The circumstances of the lawsuit have been very difficult for me. While I am obviously pleased to have had my reputation vindicated by such an award and by the court’s thorough reasons for judgment, I am also pleased to leave this behind me now,” Kazakoff said in a media statement.
The defamation suit has followed Taft through the May 9 B.C. election campaign, with the trial starting on April 11, the day the writ dropped to begin the campaign.
“I offered an early apology concerning this matter. I am disappointed by the judgment and disagree with much of it. I will be consulting with my lawyer about filing an appeal,” Taft told e-KNOW.
“I am focused on the election campaign and the issues that matter to the people of Columbia River-Revelstoke.”