Fiddes trial to go ahead without jury

Master of the Rolls rejects appeal over judge alone trial

A libel claim brought by Matt Fiddes against Channel 4 is to be tried without a jury, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

The Claimant is bringing an action over a Cutting Edge programme entitled “The Jacksons are Coming” broadcast in November 2008 by Channel 4, produced by Studio Lambert and directed by Jane Preston.  The documentary film concerned the famous Jackson family’s trip to the UK in 2008, when they were looking to purchase a home in Devon.

The Court of Appeal – Lord Neuberger Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Vice President of the Court of Appeal Civil Division and Lord Justice Sedley – rejected the appeal brought by the Claimant on mode of trial.  The Claimant had applied for the ruling of Tugendhat J in the court below – that the case should be tried by judge alone – to be overturned.  The Court of Appeal said that they had reached a ‘clear conclusion’ that the appeal should be dismissed.  A reasoned judgment is to follow.

The trial is due to start on Monday next week and is currently listed for 4 weeks.

5RB’s David Sherborne (instructed by M Law) is junior counsel for the Claimant, while Adrienne Page QC, Matthew Nicklin and Yuli Takatsuki (instructed by Aslan Charles Kousetta) act for the Defendants (Channel 4, Studio Lambert and Jane Preston).