Noel Clarke ‘satisfied’ with High Court ruling in Guardian libel battle

Actor Noel Clarke has vowed to push forward together with his £10 million libel declare in opposition to The Guardian after a choose’s ruling on eight newspaper articles accusing the star of bullying and sexual misconduct in opposition to girls. The 47-year-old filmmaker’s profession was torpedoed by information experiences in 2021 that 20 girls had accused Clarke of being a serial abuser, of preying on feminine colleagues, and saying he was liable for undesirable sexual contact together with kissing and groping.

The previous Physician Who star was suspended by Bafta within the wake of the allegations, his movie and TV initiatives had been axed, and he was “cancelled” by the leisure business, the Excessive Courtroom was informed.

Launching his defamation case in opposition to Guardian Information and Media, Clarke complained of a “catastrophic” impression on his life after the “sexual predator” tag had been included within the information experiences.

He argued odd Guardian readers would have believed the claims in opposition to him had been true, moderately than disputed allegations.

In response, the newspaper group defended its journalism and contended that its readers would have realized that there have been “cheap grounds to suspect” Clarke of misconduct.

In a preliminary ruling within the case, Mr Justice Johnson mentioned the primary article in opposition to Clarke had conveyed the which means that “there are sturdy grounds to consider that the claimant is a serial abuser of ladies, that he has, over 15 years, used his energy to prey on and harass and typically bully feminine colleagues, that he has engaged in undesirable sexual contact, kissing, touching or groping, sexually inappropriate behaviour and feedback, {and professional} misconduct, taking and sharing specific photos and movies with out consent, together with secretly filming a younger actor’s bare audition.”

He rejected the concept that the information articles had been dismissive of Clarke’s denials, mentioning they featured prominently, and he concluded the articles didn’t current the allegations as easy details.

The choose additionally dominated the entire articles may very well be defamatory, which means the case can transfer on to the subsequent stage.

Responding to the ruling Clarke, who directed The Hood sequence of movies, mentioned: “I’ve all the time disputed the content material of the eight Guardian articles and I’m glad that the Excessive Courtroom has now discovered that each one eight articles issued by the defendant had been defamatory in legislation.

“I stay up for now receiving the Guardian’s defence and progressing my declare for defamation within the Excessive Courtroom subsequent yr.”In court docket final week, Clarke’s barrister Adam Speker KC mentioned: “Over a sequence of days on the finish of April 2021 and the start of Could 2021, Guardian Information and Media Restricted (GNM) selected to label (Clarke) as a sexual predator and accuse him of getting acted improperly in the direction of a lot of girls in a sexual andcriminal manner over a few years.” “The primary article was a serious J’accuse second for Clarke and the movie business, with (him) being described within the first two phrases of the net version as a ‘sexual predator’. “This trial by media, carried out by essentially the most learn newspaper for individuals within the movie and leisure business, led, unsurprisingly, to (Clarke) being ‘cancelled’ in varied methods.”Gavin Millar KC, representing the newspaper writer, mentioned readers of the articles wouldn’t have analysed every sentence in depth, and the “overarching theme” is “allegations of misconduct, together with sexual misconduct, made by quite a few girls that are disputed”. “The cheap reader will recognize that allegations of this nature are troublesome to confirm”, he mentioned. “On this context, no cheap reader would assume an allegation is true merely as a result of it has been made.”

Clarke was stripped of a Bafta for excellent contribution to cinema within the wake of the allegations, which Mr Speker summarised as “sexually harassing girls, participating in undesirable touching or groping, participating in sexually inappropriate behaviour and feedback on stage, participating in skilled misconduct and takingand sharing specific photos and movies with out consent.” He says he misplaced a £585,000 price when Sky crime sequence Bulletproof was dropped, in addition to £270,000 for the ITV drama Viewpoint which was taken off air earlier than the ultimate episode may very well be proven. Clarke is claiming £8.25 million over misplaced share worth and wage from his manufacturing firm Unstoppable.

A defence within the case is now anticipated from Guardian Information and Media, earlier than the case may transfer ahead to a full libel trial.

Philippa Dempster, a defamation skilled and managing accomplice at legislation agency Freeths’, mentioned: Defamation circumstances are like boxing matches – Noel Clarke has largely gained the primary spherical, with the choose discovering that the hypothetical ‘cheap reader’ would have understood the Guardian’s articles to imply there have been ‘sturdy grounds’ to consider he was responsible of the alleged conduct.

“Spherical two will see either side device as much as put together their circumstances and spherical three will see them enter the courtroom for a trial, at which level will probably be as much as the Guardian to defend its publication of these allegations.”

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