July 23, 2009
Tom Bower wins Desmond libel case
Jury verdict in favour of defendant author over comments about Express owner
The jury in the trial of the libel action brought by Express Newspapers owner Richard Desmond against writer Tom Bower returned a verdict for the defendant this evening.
Mr Desmond brought the libel claim against Mr Bower in respect of a paragraph of Mr Bower’s 2006 biography of Conrad Black, Conrad & Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge, that Mr Desmond contended meant that he had personally ordered damaging stories to be run about Black regardless of their truth, only to accept a “humiliating” settlement when Black sued him for libel. Mr Bower denied that the words bore this meaning, or that they defame Mr Desmond at all, and contended that they are true.
The original jury was discharged a fortnight ago and the trial recommenced with a fresh jury last week. They retired yesterday afternoon, returning a verdict in favour of Mr Bower at 5pm today.
5RB‘s Alexandra Marzec (instructed by Wiggin) was junior counsel for Mr Bower, and Adrienne Page QC also acted for Mr Bower during earlier stages of proceedings. David Sherborne (instructed by Schillings) was junior counsel for Mr Desmond.