Sometimes you read such an all-encompassing apology in a libel case, you’re left wondering: “Well, if all that was wrong, was there anything at all that was right?”
Such is the case in this story at Press Gazette:
A woman and her partner accepted “substantial” damages from Take a Break magazine over a story which alleged that they conspired to get her former lover jailed by giving police false information.
Mrs Joyce Pinfield and partner David Valentine sued over a story which appeared in the magazine on April 5, 2007, under the headline “Yes, I framed you, darling”.
“The article detailed the relationship between Paul Eagles and his former lover Joyce Pinfield and her ongoing relationship with David Valentine,” Tim Atkinson, for Mrs Pinfield and Mr Valentine, told Mr Justice Eady at the High Court on April 21.
The magazine was told, and accepted, that a number of statements in the story were inaccurate.
“The defendant is happy to make clear that Mrs Pinfield and Mr Valentine did not conspire to put Mr Eagles in jail by providing false information to the police and to the fraud office and that Mr Valentine did not charges Mr Eagles over benefit fraud in bad faith,” Mr Atkinson said.
“The defendant also accepts that Mrs Pinfield did not take advantage of the situation to persuade Mr Eagles to sell his share of the business at rock bottom prices, that Mr Valentine and Mrs Pinfield did not trick Mr Eagles into coming into Mrs Pinfield’s house and that Mr Valentine did not attack Mr Eagles there (and Mrs Pinfield did not approve of any such attack.”
The defendant apologised to Pinfield and Valentine for the damage or distress caused by the article, and had agreed to pay them damages and their legal costs, he added.
Ian Helme, for the magazine, repeated its regret over publication of the article.
Naturally, one’s thoughts turn to how such a monumental cock-up occurred in the first place. And just as naturally, the answer that comes most readily to mind is not one that I’m prepared to spell out here. Having been unemployed for a year, I’m in no position to pay out any damages, substantial or otherwise. But since I have a lot of time on my hands at present, I may as well fill some of it in reacquainting myself with the salient facts of Elton John v. The Sun.