UK boating magazine Yachting World must pay Nicholas Tristram Cokes, the owner of a well-known catamaran Orinoco Flo, a “substantial” amount of money after wrongly claiming he was a “convicted cocaine smuggler,” Press Gazette reported.
According to a “statement in open court” published by Cokes’ attorneys at Carter-Ruck, the magazine’s lawyer Paul Fox explained that the libel happened because of an editing error through which the magazine “mixed up” Cokes’ name with the boat’s “former owner.”
Because of the error, “the result was that he was wrongly accused of being a convicted drug smuggler,” Fox is quoted as saying. Cokes’ lawyer Zoe Brocket seemed to agree with that assessment, saying: “Quite simply, Yachting World had made a mistake, as in fact, a previous owner of the Orinoco Flo had been imprisoned for smuggling cocaine before the Orinoco Flo was even built.”
iMediaEthics reached out to Cokes’ attorneys at Carter-Ruck Solicitors for more information concerning the libel settlement and the original error, but Carter-Ruck’s Zoe Brocket told iMediaEthics by email that Cokes “does not want to amplify the information available about this case” and therefore, she can’t provide any more information.
The article in question, December 2012’s “The Man Who Didn’t Want to Be Rescued” reported on sailor Matt Gill’s problems when using Cokes’ boat , according to the statement:
“The boat has received press attention following the rescue of Matt Gill who had borrowed the boat from Mr Cokes to sail to Antigua and back. Mr Gill had encountered storms on his return across the Atlantic which led to the mast of the Orinoco Flo coming down with 850 miles of the journey remaining, which is the subject of the article complained of.”
According to Press Gazette, Yachting World apologized in its next issue and on its website and agreed recently to an unknown monetary settlement figure.
Yachting World’s editor David Glenn told iMediaEthics by email that the apology was published in print and online on the site’s homepage. He added that the “details of the settlement are confidential.”
However, when iMediaEthics searched Yachting World’s website for “Nicholas Cokes” and his boat “Orinoco Flo,” we didn’t find any results. We also couldn’t track down the original article. Glenn told iMediaEthics that the article wasn’t published online, but “the digital edition was immediately amended to remove the inaccurac.”