October 20, 2011
Sunday Times settles Baturina libel claim
Newspaper pays damages, costs and joins in Statement in Open Court
A Statement In Open Court read today before Mr Justice Eady brought to an end the long-running libel claim brought by Russian businesswoman Elena Baturina against Times Newspapers Ltd.
The Sunday Times claimed in articles published in September 2009 that Mrs Baturina had purchased Witanhurst, a large mansion in Highgate, for £50m through an offshore ‘front’ company and was planning to embark upon a massive reconstruction project on the property.
But 5RB’s Justin Rushbrooke, for Mrs Baturina, told the Court that Mrs Baturina had had nothing to do with the purchase of Witanhurst, and that any suggestion that she had behaved dishonestly or unlawfully in filing her Russian declaration of assets would have been unwarranted. The Defendant now accepted that there was ‘no truth’ in the story, and had agreed to pay the Claimant appropriate damages and her legal costs, as well as appearing through Counsel to withdraw the claims unreservedly and apologise publicly to Mrs Baturina.
An apology was published in the newspaper on 16 October 2011.
In March of this year the Court of Appeal rejected the Sunday Times’ argument that the strict liability rule which applies to innuendo meanings should be abolished. It also allowed Mrs Baturina’s appeal against a preliminary ruling of Mr Justice Eady that prevented her from suing over hard copies of the Sunday Times published in this jurisdiction or over publication via the internet. 5RB‘s Anna Coppola acted for Mrs Baturina during the earlier stages of the proceedings.
• Russia’s richest woman wins Sunday Times libel battle – The Guardian