Bennett v News Group Newspapers: 2002

The defendant newspaper ran a story about investigations into several police officers at Stoke Newington police station, who had ultimately been cleared. The newspaper had pleaded a Lucas-Box meaning (2) that there were sufficient grounds for investigating the allegations against the claimants, and now wished to add a meaning (4) that the claimants had been reasonably suspected of various crimes.
Held: ‘A statement that a police officer is under is investigation is no doubt defamatory, but the sting in the libel is not as sharp as the statement that he has by his conduct brought suspicion on himself. That point is reflected in a passage in the speech of Lord Devlin in Lewis already cited which refers to ‘ three categories of justification – proof of the fact of the enquiry, proof of reasonable grounds for it and proof of guilt’. We do therefore see a significant difference between subparagraphs (2) and (4). The latter calls the plaintiffs’ conduct into question in a way that the former does not, and subparagraph (4) can be allowed as an amendment only if it is both a possible meaning and is capable of being supported by particulars which are not hearsay and (in the Shah sense) focus on the conduct of individual plaintiffs. A less stringent test is appropriate for subparagraph (2), as the plaintiffs’ advisers seem to have gone some way to acknowledging, as noted above.’


[2002] EMLR 39


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKing v Telegraph Group Ltd CA 18-May-2004
The defendant appealed against interim costs orders made in the claim against it for defamation.
Held: The general power of cost capping measures available to courts were available also in defamation proceedings. The claimant was being . .
CitedJameel and Another v Times Newspapers Limited CA 21-Jul-2004
The defendant had published a newspaper article linking the claimant to terrorist activity. The defendants argued that no full accusation was made, but only that the claimant was under investigation for such behaviour, and that the article had . .
CitedJameel and Another v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) CA 3-Feb-2005
The claimant sought damages for an article published by the defendant, who argued that as a corporation, the claimant corporation needed to show special damage, and also that the publication had qualified privilege.
Held: ‘It is an established . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 22 September 2022; Ref: scu.198170