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  1. Media Law
March 14, 2024

Guardian to defend Noel Clarke reporting as true and in public interest

Alleged victims of Noel Clarke could give evidence to "vindicate" The Guardian's journalism.

By PA Media

Women who have accused actor Noel Clarke of sexual misconduct could give evidence at a libel trial in an attempt to “vindicate” The Guardian’s journalism, the High Court has heard.

The 48-year-old is suing Guardian News and Media (GNM) over eight articles, including one from April 2021 which said 20 women who knew Clarke in a professional capacity had come forward with the allegations.

In a statement at the time he “vehemently” denied “any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing”.

The Doctor Who actor is bringing a libel and data protection claim against the publisher and is seeking £10m in special damages.

Adam Speker KC, for Clarke, said in written submissions: “The claimant has not worked since the defendant published these articles, they have entirely destroyed his career and his personal life.

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“Yet the police did not consider that there was a basis to prosecute him.”

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Guardian hopes evidence from Noel Clarke’s alleged victims will ‘vindicate’ its journalism

At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, Alexandra Marzec, for GNM, said the publisher intends to defend its reporting as true and in the public interest.

Marzec also said some of the women who made the allegations may give evidence at the eventual libel trial.

She said in written submissions: “The defendant wishes to rely at trial on the oral evidence of a number of women who will give accounts of their mistreatment at the hands of the claimant in order to vindicate its journalism.”

No date for the trial has been set.

In a judgment last year, Mr Justice Johnson said that seven of the articles “mean that there are strong grounds to believe that the claimant is guilty of various forms of sexual harassment” with the eighth meaning “grounds to investigate”.

The judge also ruled all of the articles could be defamatory, which had not been disputed by GNM over seven of the pieces.

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