February 24, 2006
Court of Appeal hears Turner appeal
Turner argues for a higher award of compensation
David Turner, who was awarded £9,000 libel damages in May 2005, concluded his appeal in the Court of Appeal today. Judgment was reserved.
The level of damages had been assessed by Mr Justice Eady following an unqualified offer of amends by the defendant, News Group Newspapers in relation to allegations published in the News of the World in February 2004 that Mr Turner was involved in ‘swinging’ and had pressured his former wife into having sex with other men.
A lengthy Burstein plea containing further allegations about Mr Turner’s sex life had not been relied on by NGN at the assessment hearing, but a reduced Burstein plea based on information raised by Mr Turner himself had been taken into account when assessing the compensation.
Desmond Browne QC, appearing for Mr Turner, told the court (Pill, Keene, & Moses LJJ), that the Offer of Amends procedure had tipped the balance too far in favour of defendants. He argued that Mr Justice Eady had erred in his assessment of some of the evidence relating to the reduced Burstein plea and had failed to give adequate weight to the aggravating element of the original Burstein plea when setting the discount at 40%.
Responding, Adrienne Page QC told the court that the Offer of Amends procedure was widely used and that defendants needed to be able to have confidence that an assessment would result in fair compensation and not over-compensation. The Burstein plea involved injury to feelings rather than injury to reputation and the award was not wrong to the extent that the Court of Appeal should interfere to increase it.
- Click here for 5RB case report of earlier hearing in front of Eady J.