Jury award Frankie Boyle £54,650 following libel victory
Comedian Frankie Boyle has succeeded in his libel claim against MGN Limited, the publishers of The Daily Mirror. Mr Boyle had sued The Daily Mirrorover an article that alleged he was a 'racist comedian' and had been 'forced to quit' the BBC Mock the Week show.
The trial of the action started on 15 October 2012 before a jury presided over by Mr Justice Eady. MGN defended the action on the basis of justification (truth) and honest comment.
David sherborne Counsel for Mr Boyle opened the case by saying that Mr Boyle "...would not have sued the defendant if he had been called tasteless and ˜offensive. But he was not. He was called racist. That is a different matter and he will explain to you why it was so upsetting. Under cross-examination Mr Boyle denied making gratuitous and racist references. He said he was playing characters who were 'dressed up': ...These are phrases that a racist will use. There is no way they are an endorsement of racist terminology. It is the absolute opposite of that. If I dressed up as Godzilla, people would not accuse me of wanting to crush Tokyo myself.
On 22 October 2012, after less than three hours deliberation, the jury found that MGN was liable for both defamatory statements. Counsel for MGN had suggested to the jury that if they considered MGN liable that they should award him 45p - the cover price of The Mirror - to show their contempt. They declined to take this advice and awarded Mr Boyle £50,400 in damages for being labelled a 'racist comedian' and a further £4,250 for the allegation that he had been forced to quit Mock the Week. Mr Boyle has indicated he will donate the award to charity.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.