Applying the principles on determining meaning set out in Jeynes v News Magazines Limited  EWCA Civ 130, Tugendhat J held that the words complained of were defamatory of C1 and C2:
The words complained of by C1
The words complained of were plainly defamatory of C1. Refusing however to adopt C1’s pleaded meanings, Tugendhat J found instead that these were in substance one meaning. There was nothing in the words complained of to give rise to the meaning that C1 knew that Ms Ward was pregnant. Whether C1 had in fact wrecked the relationship between Ms Ward and C2 was not, at that early stage of the story, a matter of fact, but may have depended on what Ms Ward herself would do. The meaning of the words complained of were that:
“[t]he First Claimant entered into a romantic relationship with the Second Claimant knowing that he was in a stable, long term and committed relationship with Stephanie Ward, and knowing that he lived with Ms Ward and their young daughter as a family, and that in doing so she knowingly encouraged the Second Claimant’s betrayal of his family, and thereby engaged in conduct likely to cause the breakdown of the Second Claimant’s relationship with Ms Ward and their daughter.”
This meaning was a statement of fact, not opinion or comment.
The words complained of by C2
There was no dispute that the words complained of were defamatory of C2. The main difference between the parties was that on D’s submissions, the meaning in relation to C2 did not include any suggestion that his conduct was made worse by reason of his having a young daughter and an unborn child.
Such submissions were deemed unrealistic. A reasonable reader would have understood that C2 knew that Ms Ward was pregnant. Ms Ward was C2’s domestic partner, with whom he had already had one child, and with whom he was living in a family home.
The words complained of bore a meaning which was substantially that attributed to them by C2.