June 16, 2005
Football libel trial – hung jury
Jury discharged after being unable to reach verdict in Kewell v Lineker case
The jury in the libel action between Liverpool and Australia football star Harry Kewell and Gary Lineker has been discharged after being unable to reach a verdict.
Kewell had sued over an article entitled “Kewell move made me ashamed of the game”, written by Lineker and appearing in The Sunday Telegraph, which heavily criticised the Australian over his multi-million pound transfer from Leeds to Liverpool.
Kewell argued that the article falsely stated that he: had willingly participated in a deeply dishonourable and financially dubious transfer; had naively and stupidly allowed his agent to manipulate him, to his own financial detriment; and had disloyally and cunningly circumvented transfer regulations.
Lineker and the Sunday Telegraph denied that the article defamed Kewell, and claimed that it is protected by the defence of fair comment, the words complained of being nothing more than a statement of Lineker’s opinions on the transfer system and Kewell’s transfer.
The jury had been deliberating for a day before indicating to the trial Judge, Mr Justice Eady, that they could not reach a verdict.