June 15, 2007
MP wins ‘swearing’ libel claim
Jury awards Labour MP £5,000 against Mail on Sunday
A jury has awarded Labour MP Martyn Jones £5,000 in damages arising from the publication of an allegation in the Mail on Sunday that he repeatedly swore at a House of Commons security guard upon being asked for his security pass, that he refused to show his pass and that he was therefore to be disciplined by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
The Mail on Sunday mounted a defence of justification. The outcome of the trial depended upon whose word the jury believed: the MP’s or the security guard (who gave evidence for the Mail). The defence failed.
Interestingly the jury found for Mr Jones despite his frank admission that he had been rude to the security guard. He contended that there had been a significant exaggeration of what had actually happened by the Mail on Sunday, particularly in its allegation that he had said “f*** off” twice to the guard and had bawled and shouted at him, which the MP said was an invention.