The Times loses libel lawsuit

England’s second most senior judge, Lord Justice Neuberger, has ruled against Times Newspapers Limited in a libel lawsuit over a newspaper article.

The lawsuit centres on Gary Flood, a detective sergeant for the Metropolitan Police, who alleged that his character was defamed in an article appearing in the Times back in 2006. Mr Flood claimed that the article accused him of accepting bribes, and he subsequently sued the newspaper group for libel.

The Times won their original court case via the Reynolds privilege, a legal defence which is often used by investigative journalists as protection against libel claims. It was successfully argued that the article, being in the public interest and written by an investigative journalist acting in good faith, qualified for the Reynolds privilege.

However, a cross-appeal by Mr Flood has now resulted in Lord Neuberger overturning the original decision, as the article was published on the group’s website after Mr Flood had been cleared of accepting bribes.

Times Newspapers Limited, who presumably have professional indemnity insurance in place to cover libel claims, are reportedly set to appeal against the decision, if their petition to obtain permission from the Supreme Court is successful.

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