Euro-Millions lottery winner succeeds in striking out ex-partner’s libel claim

Ms Desporte's libel claim is struck out and an ECRO is granted against her

Another judgment has today been handed down in the long-running Bull v Desporte saga following an application by Gareth Bull, a multi-millionaire lottery winner, to strike out the latest libel claim brought against him by his ex-partner, Donna Desporte, and to obtain an extended civil restraint order (an ECRO) against her. These proceedings stemmed from a privacy injunction that Mr Bull obtained in 2018 in respect of a book entitled “Google Me – No Lies”, which Ms Desporte had written about their time together. The injunction prevented Ms Desporte from publishing private intimate details relating to the short romantic relationship she had with him during 2016/17.

Ms Desporte’s libel claim was brought over publications made by Mr Bull’s legal team to several international Amazon entities who were operating the platforms through which Ms Desporte was publishing her book online. The publications complained about the continued sale of the original book, and later versions of it, on the grounds that some of the content either infringed the terms of the injunction or breached Mr Bull’s copyright in respect of several photographs that Ms Desporte had used.

Mr Bull sought to strike out Ms Desporte’s libel claim on the basis that it had no reasonable prospects of success and was an abuse of process. He also sought the ECRO to prevent Ms Desporte from bringing any further meritless claims/applications against him relating to the subject of the current proceedings.

Julian Knowles J has today granted Mr Bull’s application on all grounds, striking the claim out, as well as certifying it totally without merit and granting the ECRO.

Two further applications that had been brought by Ms Desporte, which were also heard at the same hearing (seeking, respectively, variation of an earlier order by Julian Knowles J and for him to recuse himself in respect of part of the litigation) were also refused and declared totally without merit.

Mr Bull was awarded his costs on an indemnity basis.

5RB’s Chloe Strong acted for Mr Bull, instructed by James Howarth of Howes Percival.

The judgment can be found here: Desporte v Bull – [2021] EWHC 2370.

For background on the claim see here: