Lewis-Smith back in court over McKenna 'bogus degree' claims

Journalist and comedian Victor Lewis-Smith was this week on the receiving end of his second major libel action in the space of a month, as hypnotist Paul McKenna claimed he had been "pilloried as a fraud" in the Daily Mirror.

The latest action comes after celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay won £100,000 for a story by Lewis-Smith in the Evening Standard, which suggested the chef faked scenes in his TV show Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares to make restaurants seem worse than they were.

McKenna's action centres on a piece from October 2003, which suggested he had obtained a "bogus degree" from La Salle University, Louisiana.

McKenna told the High Court that he considered he had been "made article, which he said painted him as "a fraudster who knowingly bought a degree to defraud the public".

McKenna claims that it was only at the end of 1996, after he had persuaded the university of his project's academic merit and had been awarded the PhD, that it was discovered that La Salle was accredited by a fraudulently created body — the Council for Post-Secondary Christian Education — set up by the university's founder, Thomas Kirk.

McKenna said: "I obtained my degree after completing coursework and a thesis project of approximately 70,000 words."

McKenna's last libel victory was in 1999, when he sued The Star and National Enquirer.

No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *