Jury backs Rubython in action against FIA man

The editor of BusinessF1 magazine has won a counterclaim in a high court internet libel battle.

Tom Rubython, who has been subject to a number of libel actions in the past, won the counterclaim against Richard Woods, director of communications for motorsports body, the FIA, for an anonymous email and internet attack on him.

Woods originally sued Rubython and the publisher for damages and aggravated damages for alleged libel in an article titled “The Propagandist” last year.

Woods’ part of the claim was upheld by the High Court and £10,000 damages were awarded. But after a three-day jury trial Rubython was awarded damages of £17,500 on his counterclaim. Both were awarded their costs.

Rubython is no stranger to court action. Grand Prix ace Michael Schumacher’s manager, Willi Weber, accepted a public apology at London’s High Court and “substantial” but undisclosed libel damages, to be paid to a charity of his choice, in respect of an article published in Business F1 in April 2005 headed “The Trouble With Being Willi Weber”.

In May 2006, a High Court jury awarded Tony Purnell, the former head of the Jaguar Formula 1 team, £75,000 in damages in his libel action against the magazine and editor after it was alleged Purnell had bribed a journalist.

Rubython, former editor of Formula 1 magazine, was ordered to pay damages of £8,500 plus legal costs in August last year to Alan Donnelly, official representative of the president of FIA. The ruling followed a story falsely alleging that Donnelly had diverted fees from the FIA for personal use.

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