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The Groucho Club withdraws libel action against award winning filmmaker
The Groucho Club libel action was instigated in February 2009 against Tyrone D Murphy, an award winning filmmaker and writer in an attempt to halt publication of his book about the famous club.
By: Tony lattice
The sudden move by the Groucho Club came just a week after a comprehensive dossier that included a detailed statement by a former manager of the club was lodged with a court in Wales for a different action the filmmaker was taking against the Groucho Club. Tyrone D Murphy said: It is absolutely ludicrous that anyone can take an action for a pre publication test case for libel for something that has not been written, this is not only an injustice but this case is an attack on free speech.
During the action the Groucho Club issued only one statement to the Press. This statement stated that Mr Murphy had made libellous remarks in private correspondence. This statement was made during an ongoing case and it would appear it has breached the Sub judice Rule under the contempt of Court Act. What more, after making such a statement that stated that Murphy was basically guilty of libel, the Groucho Club have now withdrawn its action.
When asked why the Groucho withdrew its action Murphy said: “there was no deal done, no agreement, there was no conversation, they withdrew from this case because they didn’t have a hope in hell of winning, it’s as simple as that. This was even more apparent after the Manager came forward to make a detailed and devastating statement. The book I am writing about the Club is going ahead.
When the issue of costs were addressed as a litigant in person Murphy can only claim £9.23 an hour compared to the £350.00 an hour the Groucho Clubs solicitors would have been seeking from Murphy if he had lost the case. Murphy states:” I believe the Groucho Club tried to use the threat of exorbitant costs to force me to concede, this is very evident to me as I received a bombardment of four letters in one single day. This tactic may have worked many times against many people but as a litigant in person I was able to fight back and successfully defend the action”
There has been much written about the Libel Laws in the UK which have become somewhat of an embarrassment around the world. It is apparent that the current laws can be abused by the rich and wealthy to suppress the truth. The libel laws lack fairness and even handedness and are heavily weighted in favour of complainants. Surely it is time for change
Commenting on case in London, Murphy said: “Anyone who instigates a pre publication test case libel action is an enemy of freedom of speech. In this particular case the Right of Free Speech has now been upheld”
Contact Tony Lattice - firstname.lastname@example.org