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ATKINS THOMSON settle libel action against the Sunday Mirror
Today in the High Court Mark Thomson announced a settlement before Mr Justice Eady of a libel action against the Sunday Mirror. As part of the settlement Ed Buxton received an apology, £30,000 in damages together with his legal costs.
By: Atkins Thomson
The statement read in court is set out below.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
ED BUXTON Claimant
- and -
MGN LTD Defendant
STATEMENT IN OPEN COURT
Solicitor for the Claimant
1. In this libel action I appear for the Claimant. My friend, Ms Hodgkinson, appears for the Defendant.
2. The Claimant is an international property developer consultant who was born and lives in London. The Defendant is the publisher of, amongst other titles, The Sunday Mirror newspaper. It also operates a website at the address www.mirror.co.uk on which it reproduces articles from its hardcopy edition.
3. On 12 July 2009, the Defendant published an article in The Sunday Mirror under the headline “Sophie’s beaten up”. The article was accompanied by a photograph of Sophie Anderton with the caption “Sophie….in a terrible state” and with the sub-heading “She fears for career because of injuries”.
4. The article alleged that the Claimant was guilty of a serious and vicious attack on Ms Anderton, which had caused such permanent damage to her face, that her face was “totally ruined” and that it would almost certainly destroy her career as a model. The article in The Sunday Mirror was published in both the print and online versions of the newspaper.
5. As the Defendant now accepts, these serious allegations were completely untrue. The Claimant had not attacked Ms Anderton nor had he caused any injury to her face. Although the Claimant was arrested following a complaint by Ms Anderton, no charges were ever brought and the police dropped any prosecution of the matter.
6. Given the seriousness of the allegation and the sensational manner in which it was published, it is no surprise that the article has caused considerable embarrassment, and distress to the Claimant, as well as significant damage to both his personal and professional reputation. As was inevitable, the Claimant has been asked about the article by his family, friends and business associates and has had to vigorously defend himself, all of which was entirely unnecessary.
7. The Claimant is pleased that the Defendant has now accepted that there is no truth in the allegation whatsoever and that the article was both false and defamatory of him. The Defendant has agreed to apologise to the Claimant for the injury and damage caused to his reputation as a result of the article and to withdraw the allegations complained of. It has also agreed not to republish the article or the words complained of, as well as to pay the Claimant substantial damages and to reimburse him for the legal costs he has incurred in this claim.
8. In those circumstances, and particularly since the Claimant has now achieved his principal aim of obtaining vindication for this allegation, he has agreed not to pursue legal action against the Defendant.
Solicitor for the Defendant
9. My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant I confirm everything my Friend, Mr Thomson, has said.
10. The Defendant is here today through me to offer its sincere apologies to the Claimant for the damage, as well as the distress and embarrassment, caused to him by the publication of the article. The Defendant acknowledges that this false and defamatory allegation should never have been published.
Solicitor for the Claimant
11. In the circumstances, my Lord, it only remains for me to ask that the record be withdrawn.
Solicitors for the Claimant
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain
Solicitors for the Defendant “
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