Libel defendant cannot defend imputation by proving truth of another


Re: Price v MGN Ltd [2018] EWHC 3014 (QB)

The claimant former Chief Constable was dismissed following disciplinary investigations and proceedings. He brought a claim in libel in respect of certain newspaper articles. On an application for summary judgment, the Court held that the articles bore the meaning that he had been party to the illegal interception of the mobile phone records of a newspaper journalist. Furthermore, the defendant could not succeed on the basis that other allegations in the articles were true since that would be contrary to the established principles that where a publication contained more than one defamatory imputation, the claimant was entitled to select which he wished to complain about and that, if he complained of one distinct defamatory imputation, the defendant could not defend that imputation by proving the truth of another.

Hugh Tomlinson QC was involved in this case.