Private Eye On George Galloway’s 2004 Libel Action Against the Torygraph

I’m writing this from the BRI, where, as I explained last week, I’m being treated for myeloma, a form of blood cancer. The care here has been excellent, and the staff friendly and reassuring. It’s just a scandal that the NHS is being run down by the Tories and New Labour.

Amongst the books and magazines I’ve taken in to amuse me are a few old copies of Private Eye. And the issue for 10th -23rd December 2004 is particularly interesting, as it describes George Galloway’s libel victory over the Torygraph. This had smeared him as an anti-Semite and supporter of Saddam Hussein. Galloway sued, and the judge overwhelmingly concurred with him. He awarded exceptionally heavy damages to Galloway because he was not impressed with the behaviour of the Telegraph’s defence counsel, who, in his view, not only repeated the original libels, but aggravated them.

The Eye wrote

The reputation of the Daily Telegraph’s leading counsel in the Galloway libel case, James Price QC, is in a state of disrepair following last week’s judgement.

Overlooked in the newspaper reports on Friday was the fact that Mr. Justice Eady made such a large award of damages to Galloway partly because of Price’s “high-handed and insulting behaviour in court”.

During his cross-examination of the MP, Price made a charge of anti-Semitism against Galloway, a charge Galloway eventually forced him to withdraw. In another exchange, about Saddam’s use of chemical weapons at Halabjah in 1988, Galloway explained that he had condemned Halabjah at the time “unlike the British and American governments, who went on supplying Saddam Hussein with weapons”, but that he was sceptical about the supposed death toll of 12,000, believing it to have been exaggerated for propaganda reasons. “Are you defending Saddam Hussein now over Halabjah, Mr. Galloway?” Price asked.

“How dare you?” replied the MP. Mr. Justice Eady concluded that Price’s remarks “were gratuitous and would appear to have served no legitimate purpose in the litigation.” He accepted the submission of Galloway’s QC, Richard Rampton, that both exchanges amounted  to aggravation of the original allegations. Furthermore, in inviting Mr. Justice Eady to make a contemptuous award of damages, if any, in Galloway’s favour, Price asserted that Galloway had “engineered” matters to his own advantage and may have “misled”  the parliamentary commissioner for standards. The judge found that “such allegations are in themselves insulting.”

I’ve decided to post this, as I found it very encouraging. It shows that it is possible to win libel cases against the big boys and girls of the press when they smear decent, anti-racist people, including self-respecting Jews, as anti-Semites and Nazis. And I hope it won’t be too long before Mike and the others similarly gain justice against those, who’ve so disgracefully smeared them.

One Response to “Private Eye On George Galloway’s 2004 Libel Action Against the Torygraph”

  1. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

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