UK Judge: News Corp. Times of London Didn't Libel Elton John

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(Credit: Times of London, screenshot)

As iMediaEthics reported previously, Elton John sued the News Corp.-owned Times of London for libel over June 21 articles that he said “falsely linked him to a controversial tax avoidance scheme.”

But, UK High Court judge Justice Tugendhat ruled against Elton John Oct. 10, the Guardian reported.  According to the Guardian, Tugendhat said that “the words complained of are not capable of bearing the meaning attributed to them by the claimant or any other defamatory meaning.”

Further, the judge called Elton John’s “claim that the articles meant he was, or was reasonably suspected of being, involved in tax avoidance as ‘so lacking any possible basis that it is obviously to be rejected.'”

The Times of London previously corrected its inaccurate reporting that said Indigenous Media’s Patrick McKenna was the singer’s accountant. The Times also clarified claims about McKenna’s company, as iMediaEthics wrote.

According to the UK Press Association, Elton John’s “lawyers accepted that no involvement in tax avoidance was expressly stated” but instead was suggested.  However,  Tugendhat responded that “there is simply nothing to support the inference other than the alleged association,” according to the UK Standard.

The BBC noted that News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch tweeted “shortly after the judgment” writing:

“British libel laws limit freedom of expression everywhere. Hope Cameron keeps his promise of major reform, but not holding breath.”

The Times of London also reported Oct. 10 about the libel case, but the article is behind a paywall.  iMediaEthics has written to News International seeking comment about the case and will update with any response.

We wrote last week about the UK Daily Mail’s apology to actor Nicolas Cage after labeling him a “tax evader.”  Cage sued for libel over the description and the Daily Mail settled for “undisclosed damages.”

Check out all of our stories about libel.

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UK Judge: News Corp.’s Times of London Didn’t Libel Elton John

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