The Evening Standard and Daily Mail are being sued for libel by Sussex University PhD student Luke Cooper over 2010 reports that suggested “Cooper was a ringleader, and planned with others in advance to hijack a peaceful march and turn it into a riot,” the UK Press Association reported. In November 2010, “a demonstration against tuition fees by tens of thousands of students and lecturers descended into violence…when a group of protestors smashed their way into” the political headquarters, an article from the Telegraph at the time noted.
In question is a reported quote from Sussex University PhD student Luke Cooper that reads: “The reason we attacked Tory HQ is we want to send a really strong message to this government that we are not going to let higher education be brutalised.”
Cooper, who says Moore-Bridger fabricated the quote about having “attacked Tory HQ,” filed the lawsuit against the Evening Standard and Daily Mail, the Guardian reported. He also has called for an “injunction against the newspapers.”
Cooper denies having been “part in the planning or the violence,” according to the Press Association. He confirmed being interviewed by the Evening Standard but said his remarks were “inaccurately reported or omitted.” A separate Guardian article explained that the Daily Mail is involved in the case because it “lifted” the Evening Standard’s quoted comments. And, if Cooper wins his case, the Daily Mail may have to pay out more since it has “a bigger readership than the Evening Standard.”
The Evening Standard’s reporter, Benedict Moore-Bridger, defended his 2010 article from accusations of fabrication and libel, the Guardian reported. Moore-Bridger is quoted as telling the UK high court:
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“It is frankly insulting to say I deliberately falsified anything. I don’t do that and I have never done that.”
“I am a professional journalist and I don’t do this thing that is being alleged of me.”
Both newspapers also published an old picture of Cooper “at a social event in a pub” suggesting Cooper had been “smiling joyously at the havoc wreaked,” the Daily Mail noted in its own report on the case
We have written to Moore-Bridger and will update with any response.