February 3, 2006
Further cocaine allegation allowed in Moss libel case
Supermodel must answer drug claims in action against Five
Kate Moss has failed in her bid to prevent Five from relying on further allegations of cocaine abuse in its defence of a libel action brought against the Channel.
The supermodel sued for libel over Five’s The Truth About Kate Moss, broadcast on 27 January 2005. Ms Moss claims that the programme suggested that she took so much cocaine that she ended up in a coma one evening after a fashion show in Barcelona in 2001.
The claim was commenced on 13 September 2005, but two days later, Ms Moss appeared in a series of photographs in the Daily Mirror, taken at a recording studio in Chiswick, West London. The Daily Mirror alleged that she had snorted “line after line” of the drug in the company of her then boyfriend, Pete Doherty.
After Five relied on the later incident of alleged cocaine abuse in its Defence, the supermodel applied to have it struck out of the case. However, following a pre-trial hearing today at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Eady ruled that the television station was entitled to rely upon the incident at the centre of the Mirror allegations in defence of the claim.
David Sherborne, for Ms Moss, told the court that the allegation that she had taken a “vast quantity of cocaine” in Barcelona in 2001 and had had to be revived from a coma was “wholly untrue and seriously defamatory”.
But Matthew Nicklin, for Five told the Court: “The present application arises because the claimant wishes to prevent the defendant, as part of its defence of any defamatory sting conveyed by the programme, from proving the full truth of her cocaine abuse.” He said the real issue in the case was whether the supermodel had taken cocaine, “not the venue of her activities or even when she did it”.
Accepting Five’s submissions, the Judge ruled that the supermodel must answer the further cocaine allegations within 21 days. She was also ordered to pay £11,900 in costs to Five.
The Court has ordered the libel trial to take place between October and December this year.
Click here for the 5RB case report and links relating to the case.