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BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

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BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by christabel on Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:45 pm

Thanks to Bonny on JATYK


This appeared on Bennett's forum at dawn:

Smethurst's libel claim settled
Tony Bennett Today at 6:59 am

Libel cases update:

SMETHURST

Update - Summary: Edward Smethurst’s claim against me has been settled on the following agreed terms:

a) I will pay the sum of £2,500 agreed damages to Mr Smethurst, without any formal admission of liability. Mr Smethurst has said via Carter-Ruck that he will pay this sum into the Find Madeleine Fund
b) I will in addition pay Mr Smethurst’s reasonable legal costs to date, to be assessed by the court if not agreed between me and him (see below)
c) Carter-Ruck will draw up an undertaking for me to sign which will cover the contents of anything that I may or may not publish about him in the future; the terms of that undertaking to be agreed between us.

The hearing yesterday (7 December):

Carter-Ruck had four people representing them at yesterday’s hearing, which was in Room E117, the chambers of Master Victoria McCloud. They were:

(i) Jacob Dean, barrister
(ii) Isabel Hudson, Senior Partner of Carter-Ruck

(iii) Two female assistants.

Mr Smethurst’s claim, issued by the court on 9 August 2011, was originally for £100,000 damages.

This was primarily a costs management hearing in which Carter-Ruck were asking the Master to approve their ‘costs budget’. This set out, in a series of complex tables, how they had calculated their costs to date (£28,390) and their likely future costs (£143,086.50), which totalled £171, 476.50.

Discussion about Carter-Ruck’s costs bill took up most of the 1¾ hour hearing. The Master queried the very high amount of costs in Carter-Ruck’s budget. The end result was that Carter-Ruck’s costs budget schedule, most unusually, was rejected by the Master, who ordered Carter-Ruck at their own expense to submit another one. Carter-Ruck were given leave to appeal if they wished.

The hearing opened with Jacob Dean, for Mr Smethurst, being able to make a half-hour opening summary of the case. In this address, he set out that the following legal issues to be settled in the case:

a) whether any or all of the comments I made about Mr Smethurst were justified (strictly true)
b) whether, if not justified, they were ‘fair comment’
c) what was the actual meaning of some of the words I used
d) whether I had acted promptly to remove any offending words.

He also claimed that Mr Smethurst had no control on Facebook over who became his friends on his Facebook page. That meant that I would have to have proved to the court that certain named friends of his were there as a matter of his conscious decision. Jacob Dean claimed that anyone could become Mr Smethurst’s ‘Facebook Friend’.

At the hearingk the barrister produced and served on me a new application, running to several hundred more pages, with exhibits, for ‘Summary Disposal’ of the case. The application contended that I had no arguable case and that the case should be disposed of at a 1-day hearing without the matter ever going to trial. If the case had proceeded, there would have been a 1-day summary trial before a judge. If at that hearing the judge thought that I had an arguable case, the matter would have been set down for a 3-day trial at which all the legal arguments mentioned above would have been considered.

The Master was especially interested in the following aspects of the matter:

a) whether or not I had promptly removed any offending material
b) whether or not Mr Smethurst had followed the Pre-Action Protocol on Defamation, which requires libel claimants to give potential defendants an opportunity to remove any allegedly libellous publications. The Protocol sets out quite clearly that court action should be ‘a last resort’
c) whether or not Mr Smethurst should have issued proceedings on 9 August when I had met all the demands of Carter-Ruck’s initial two letters of 4 August
d) whether Mr Smethurst’s claim for £100,000 damages was ‘proportional’: i.e. whether such a large claim was reasonable in respect of comments made on a small internet forum and which were removed on request
e) whether the steps taken in the proceedings to date by Carter-Ruck were proportionate, having regard in particular to my prompt removal of any offending material.

At the conclusion of the case, the Master said that she was “fully seized of all the issues relating to the need for claimants to follow the pre-Action Protocol and as to proportionality”.

In terms, this may well mean that a large part of Mr Smethurst’s costs claim may be disallowed by the court.

Once a libel claim has been issued, and bearing in mind the gross inequality of resources in this case, tough choices have to be made. My choice was to settle on the most favourable terms that I could agree.

http://jatyk2.forumotion.co.uk/t859-bennett-folds-to-smethurst
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Re: BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by christabel on Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:47 pm

a) I will pay the sum of £2,500 agreed damages to Mr Smethurst, without any formal admission of liability. Mr Smethurst has said via Carter-Ruck that he will pay this sum into the Find Madeleine Fund.

Bennett donates to the Find Madeleine Fund, now who'd have thought it laffin2
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Re: BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by Pedro Silva on Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:00 am

christabel, your words are mine.

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Re: BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by Pedro Silva on Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:11 am


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Re: BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by dianeh on Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:09 pm

THE SUM IS £56,000 DAMAGES AND £15,000 INTO THE FINDMADELEINE FUND

This is a quote from the brenryanandco.blogspot that Pedro linked to.

THat would be a fair bit more than the £2500 damages that Bennett quotes.

TYpical. Only just happened and already there are conflicting stories running around. But I will go with Bennett on this one, he probably is well aware of how much he has to pay, after all he was the one in court.
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Re: BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by Cath on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:23 pm

Re the damages : It's not my habit to believe anything Bennett says without checking it first, but this time I'll believe him.
I doubt he'll pay for it himself.

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Re: BENNETT FOLDS TO SMETHURST - Fund to find Madeleine benefits

Post by Pedro Silva on Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:07 pm

the more sum TB pays for the fund the better.

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