The comedian Frankie Boyle was, today, successful in his action for libel against MGN, the publishers of the “Daily Mirror”. He was awarded damages in the total sum of £54,650. The trial began last Monday, 15 October 2012, before Mr Justice Eady and a jury in Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London. We had a short report on the trial on Saturday.
The judge summed up and sent the jury out today. After deliberating for less than three hours the jury found in Mr Boyle’s favour on liability: they found that he had been libelled by an article which described him as a “racist comedian” and by a claim that he had been “forced to quit” the BBC show Mock the Week. On the first allegations, he was awarded damages of £50,400 and, on the second, damages of £4,250. Frankie Boyle told his 1.1 million Twitter followers:
I’m very happy with the jury’s decision and their unanimous rejection of the Mirror’s allegation that I am a racist. Racism is still a very serious problem in society which is why I’ve made a point of always being anti-racist in my life and work… and that’s why I brought this action.
He also confirmed that he will be giving his damages to charity.
This is the second libel jury trial of 2012 – following Cooper v Associated and Evening Standard. Both cases were won by claimants against newspaper defendants. There have also been five “judge alone” libel trials so far in 2012 – with two won by the claimant and two by the defendant and judgment awaited in the fifth. The damages awarded have ranged from £125,000 to the £54,650 awarded in this case.