March 9, 2016
Jimmy White Libel Claim Settles
Snooker player's damages claim compromised
The snooker player Jimmy White settled his claim against Express Newspapers on the second day of a damages hearing. The claim was in respect of an article published in the Daily Star Sunday in June 2012 titled “Jimmy’s aide in betting probe”. Proceedings were issued towards the very end of the limitation period.
Following a hearing before Mr Justice Tugendhat in 2014, the Claimant’s pleaded guilt meaning had been reduced to “grounds to suspect”. The publishers had made an offer of amends in respect of the meaning that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that an aide of Jimmy White had used insider information communicated to him by Jimmy White to place winning bets and so reasonable grounds to suspect Jimmy White had acted dishonestly to enable the aide to place winning bets. The Claimant had accepted the offer of amends and an apology to the Claimant had been published by the Daily Star Sunday. The matter was for hearing for assessment of damages.
The main issue concerned a special damages claim for the loss of a sponsorship contract with the Claimant’s image rights company and not the Claimant as an individual. Express Newspapers were contending that losses under the contract were not recoverable because they were losses of the company and not the Claimant personally relying on Collins Stewart v The Financial Times Ltd and Prudential Assurance v Newman Industries (No 2).
On the first day of the hearing before Mitting J, the Claimant, his manager, his accountant and a representative from the sponsor all gave evidence and were cross examined. The claim was settled by the Claimant on the second day of the hearing and the Court did not rule on the special damages issue. The Court was told that it was agreed that the Claimant would receive substantial damages.
The case raised an interesting issue, that was not judicially determined, as to the recoverability by a celebrity in a defamation action of losses ostensibly to a separate legal entity, namely his image rights company.
5RB’s Christina Michalos acted for Express Newspapers.