Libelled actor seeks new deal to nail down cost

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet star Jimmy Nail is challenging a High Court judge’s decision which awarded him £30,000 damages but left him out of pocket.

Mr Justice Eady made the award in March in respect of claims that Nail had taken part in bondage orgies.

However, because it was less than the amount paid into court before the case in an offer of settlement, Nail was left with costs estimated at £200,000.

The libel claim centred on allegations in a biography published by HarperCollins in 1998 and in the News of the World four years later.

It had already been accepted that the allegations were untrue but the case went to court for the judge to decide the level of damages.

The judge gave a “reward” to the defendants for using the relatively new procedure under which publishers agree they are in the wrong and offer to make amends.

Nail’s counsel, Hugh Tomlinson, QC, argued at the Court of Appeal this week that the judge was wrong in his approach. Judgment is expected to be reserved.

By Roger Pearson

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