Picardo awarded £30,000 in damages

Chief Minister of Gibraltar awarded damages in libel claim

The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo QC, has been awarded £30,000 by the Supreme Court of Gibraltar in his libel claim against Spanish Trade Union Manos Limpias and its Secretary General, Miguel Bernad Remon. The judgment was handed down by Dudley CJ, the Chief Justice of Gibraltar, following a damages hearing which took place on 11 May 2015. The claim related to a press release issued by Manos Limpias and posted on its website in August 2013 which accused the Chief Minister of condoning illegal activities such as smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering, and disregarding legitimate requests for judicial assistance from foreign courts.

The Chief Justice found that the gravity of the libel was severe, publication in Gibraltar was extremely wide, and the Claimant was embarrassed and frustrated by the allegations – not least due to his former profession as a lawyer. He also found that although many publishees in Gibraltar were likely to view the allegations as being of very low credibility, there was still a need for a substantial award of damages. The Chief Justice ordered an interim payment of £35,000 in costs against the Defendants.

The Chief Minister was represented by 5RB‘s Julian Santos.