CALGARY - A former television correspondent known as the Scud Stud has been given judicial approval to file a criminal complaint against his former lawyer.
Arthur Kent is in a prolonged civil lawsuit against former National Post and Calgary Herald columnist Don Martin and several people who are members of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party.
Kent, 59, alleges that the political defendants conspired to sabotage his campaign to win the constituency of Calgary Currie in the 2008 provincial election. He claims the media defendants defamed him.
"I allege senior figures within the PC party sabotaged their own candidate after I criticized patronage practices and certain policies of the former premier Mr. Stelmach," Kent said outside court Friday.
He wants to file a criminal complaint against his former lawyer Sabri Shawa, who he says has ties to the Tories because he is with the law firm contracted by the government in its $10-billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Kent wants to use evidence and documents uncovered in the lawsuit as part of his complaint to police that he has been a victim of fraud.
"I was never informed of Mr. Shawa and his firm's extensive connections and relationships with senior PC figures, the office of the Progressive Conservative government, the office of the privacy commissioner and other conflicts of interest with their clients."
In his affidavit, Kent alleges Shawa worked with party insiders to derail Kent's lawsuit.
Alberta Queen's Bench Justice William Tilleman said he was "somewhat surprised" there was no objection to Kent asking for the release of disclosed evidence from the lawsuit. Tilleman approved the request in the absence of any objections.
"I am not commenting on the merits of the allegation," the judge said.
Tilleman suggested that there are remedies that Kent could pursue, including civil action or turning the matter over to police or the Law Society of Alberta, which can recommend "if an investigation is warranted, if charges should be laid."
A senior official with Shawa's law firm, JSS Barristers, downplayed the judge's decision.
"Anyone is free to report anyone else to the police. That doesn't mean that the complaint has merit," said Glenn Solomon, managing partner at JSS Barristers.
"No one has decided that this complaint has merit. We are of the view that it does not and we are not at all concerned that Mr. Kent may decide to make a complaint to the police."
Solomon confirmed a number of the firm's members, including himself, have ties to the Alberta PCs, but said the information is not a secret — especially since the party has been in power in Alberta for more than 40 years.
"You can't swing a cat in downtown Calgary without hitting a lawyer that's connected to the PC party of Alberta," he said.
Kent said he approached the Law Society 18 months ago with his concerns. He wouldn't say what his next move will be, because he wants to make sure there's no political interference in any investigation.
"I'm not going to proceed in any way that isn't truly independent and fair to me and to the parties that will be drawn into the investigation. I want to make sure it's fair, clean and free of any outside interference," he said.
"There are a lot of prominent and legal figures with connections to the present government in these matters, some of them who have been advised they may be witnesses."
Kent rose to international prominence and acquired his nickname when he reported for NBC during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He often went live on the air from a hotel rooftop as Iraqi Scud missiles were launched into Saudi Arabia.
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