Giving judgment for the Defendant:
(1) As to the second meaning, C was responsible for a violent assault on a victim who subsequently withdrew his statement. There were sufficient facts to prove the truth of the meaning and to satisfy the J that there were reasonable grounds to suspect it.
As to the third meaning, D proved that C threatened the party to the property dispute and orchestrated an attack on him. The J also found, although less certainly, that C avoided prosecution through intimidation of a witness. He concluded in any event that there were reasonably grounds to suspect C of acting in this way.
As to the first meaning, the J found that C was the head of an organised crime network who was implicated in extreme violence and fraud. However, he did not accept that involvement in murder and drug-trafficking were necessarily included in a general description of such an individual. These allegations were not exaggerations at the margins of the allegation, and D could not rely on s.5 of the 1952 Act .
(2) With regard to the Reynolds defence, firstly, it was a matter of public interest that criminals were being paid from public funds, and that a dispute over the land which entitled them to the payment had led to a violent turf war and large-scale police corruption enquiry. The status and involvement of C was central to the article.
Second, Mr Gillard, representing D, had behaved fairly and responsibly in gathering the information and in ensuring that what was published was accurate and fair. On the basis of both sources and documents, it was reasonable for Mr Gillard to describe C as he had done. The J was satisfied that he honestly believed the allegations were accurate and true and that it was his duty to write the article in its published form. While the way that comment was sought from C was not ideal, C, who the article said had declined to comment, would never have taken the opportunity to give the gist of his side of the story. The defence succeeded in relation to the first meaning, and would also have provided a complete defence to the other two meanings if required.