Not convinced by the Tisers reporting of the current defamation case by the 3 MP against Collins of UKIP.
They don’t seem to understand the role of the Judges first ruling back in April that the UKIP Collins had made a statement that appeared to be factual, as against stating an allowable opinion.
In this circumstance she had a case to answer in terms of a potential defamation of the 3 MP.
It is complicated to explain, however in lay terms you could say that the Collins defence team tried to get the defamation case thrown out on a technicality, specifically that her words were fair opinion by a campaigning politician.
The Judge ruled otherwise on one point, meaning the litigation could continue, and has done.
While we can’t speak about details in this case, what would normally happen is that each sides legal team would start to exchange documents and evidence, in the hope that an agreement can be reached without further recourse to Court, or only do so in the case of disputed damages or costs.
The thing the Tiser failed to understand is that back in April the Judge stated quite clearly that
“This trial has required me to consider only how the defendant’s words would have struck the ordinary reasonable member of her audience.” And he decided that the comment was made as if a, and appeared to be a statement of fact
However, he also said “It has been no part of my task to determine whether the meanings that I have found the words to bear are, or may be, defensible.”
In other words he was not commenting on whether Collins statements were accurate or not.
The best defence to a defamation allegation is to prove that the statement is truthfull…and the Judge left that to Collins to prove at a later stage.
What happens in most cases is either the defendant proves the validity of the statement or starts to discuss the terms of any damages.
If they can’t agree the statements were truthful, but the defendant is insistent, then the case goes back to court to adjudicate on the “truth.”
If both sides agree the statements were untruthful, then either they agree damages and costs or go back to Court for the Judge to adjudicate on them
We do not, at this moment know the course that Collins is pursuing. Being frank neither do the Tiser.
The Tiser however pre empted a potential Court decision, suggesting either one of the litigants had fed them the story…or they simply got it wrong.
Pity they didn’t read the Sheffield Telegraph back in April, they might then have understood.
Mary B Josephs
Due to legal constraints, I regret comments that stray from the point of this post into territory that is still before the court, cannot be published.