Max Mosley is suing the Daily Mail because it shared evidence with prosecutors suggesting he misled the court during his famous 2008 High Court privacy battle with the News of the World.
Mosley, 80, claims the newspaper’s publisher Associated Newspapers reported “bogus concerns” to the Crown Prosecution Service “to be able to publish damaging stories” about him in order to “counter his own campaign for fairer regulation of the press”.
The former F1 boss (pictured) says the Daily Mail “set the law in motion against him to further its own regulatory and commercial objectives and not to achieve any proper purpose” and is suing for damages for malicious prosecution.
But the newspaper is defending the claim and, on Thursday, applied to throw out Mosley’s case.
At a High Court hearing in London, Andrew Caldecott QC – for Associated Newspapers – argued that no “prosecution” had taken place and Mosley therefore had no claim against the Mail.
The court heard that in February 2018 the Daily Mail unearthed an election pamphlet supporting a candidate for Sir Oswald Mosley’s far-right Union Movement, Walter Hesketh, in a 1961 by-election.
The leaflet – which stated it was “published by Max Mosley”, Hesketh’s election agent – linked non-white immigrants with diseases such as tuberculosis, VD and leprosy and claimed that “coloured immigration threatens your children’s health”.
The newspaper suggested that the pamphlet, which it described as “arguably one of the most racist official leaflets ever published in a modern British parliamentary election”, raised questions over whether Mosley “lied at his orgy privacy trial”.
Mosley successfully sued the publisher of the now-defunct News Of The World in 2008 ago after the newspaper wrongly reported he had attended a “Nazi-themed” sex party. The court found that Mosley’s sex-party with five paid dominatrices did not have a Nazi theme.
At the trial in 2008, Mosley described suggestions that “leaflets were put out alleging coloured immigrants brought leprosy, syphilis and TB” in the 1961 campaign as “absolute nonsense”.
The Daily Mail claimed the newly-found leaflet “raises the question of whether Mr Mosley committed perjury” during his privacy case against the News Of The World.
The newspaper also passed documents, including a copy of the leaflet and a transcript of Mosley’s evidence, to the CPS which in turn passed the material on to the police.
The Metropolitan Police later decided not to launch a criminal investigation, the court heard.
Mosley’s lawyers claim the Daily Mail ran “sustained personal attacks” against him as a “prominent campaigner for press reform”.
They also argue that there was “no prospect” Mosley could face charges of perjury as his evidence about the leaflet was “completely irrelevant to the outcome of the trial”, which they say the newspaper “knew perfectly well”.
Paul Mitchell QC, for Mosley, told the court that his client had “very good prospects of establishing that the submission by the defendant of its dossier to the CPS amounted to a prosecution”.
The hearing before Mr Justice Nicklin is due to conclude on Friday and the judge is expected to give his ruling at a later date.
Picture: Channel 4 News/Screenshot