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The Desmond v. Bower case

Monday, Jul 27, 2009

Richard Desmond’s libel case against Tom Bower was – unusually – resolved in the defendant’s favour last week. Roy Greenslade summarises the issues involved in Media Guardian today.

Greenslade aside, there are one or two other shades of McKennitt v. Ash, too. One is the controversial role of Mr Justice Eady, who was twice overruled on admissability by the Appeal Court, in the strongest of terms. Another one is the peripheral-but-crucial role played by Benjamin Pell, a.k.a. Benji the Binman (pictured left; read Matthew Bell’s piece in the Independent today).

I had the pleasure of meeting and, not so much talking as listening to Benji during McKennitt v. Ash, especially in the later stages in 2006. He is a most extraordinary character and, despite his many eccentricities, I know a lot of media lawyers have a lot of time for him, and for his encyclopaedic knowledge of media, privacy and defamation law. If and when Benji ever has his day in court against Richard Desmond, I for one will book a ticket to the public gallery forthwith.

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