Other recent libel trial winners and losers

Tommy Sheridan's £200,000 libel victory is the latest to illustrate the high stakes newspapers play for when they take on claimants in the libel courts.

And it is further proof of the dangers and uncertainties they face when cases come to trial.

The vast majority of libel claims are settled out of court — but here are some of those to make it to trial over the past 14 months.

August: Paul McKenna versus the Daily Mirror

The judge (rather than a jury) found in McKenna's favour after a Mirror story which alleged the hypnotist had bought a phoney degree. But damages are yet to be agreed and there are signs they won't be high. Mr Justice Eady said of the case: "Much energy has been expended to very little purpose."

March 2006: BBC versus NHS manager Marion Henry

Henry denied manipulating NHS waiting lists to meet Government targets, but failed in a case which could have cost the BBC £1.5 million. The case was again heard by a judge, rather than a jury, who decided the BBC story was true.

December 2005: The Times versus Southampton football club chairman Rupert Lowe

Jurors awarded £250,000 damages to Lowe after a comment piece which described his actions as "shabby".

It has set a new record for libel payouts in recent years. The previous high of £200,00 went to a couple falsely accused of being child abusers.

The Times has since decided not to appeal against the award, which editor Robert Thomson described as "absolutely extraordinary and disproportionate".

July 2005: Vanity Fair versus film director Roman Polanski

A High Court judge awarded Polanski £50,000 in damages over a story which claimed he tried to seduce a woman on the way back from attending his wife Sharon Tate's funeral.

May 2005: NoW and Bogdan Maris

A libel judge ruled in favour of the News of the World after Romanian Bogdan Maris (also called Alin Turcu) claimed the paper had fabricated claims he was involved in a plot to kidnap singer Victoria Beckham in November 2002.

Maris was initially refused permission to appeal against the verdict, but that has since been granted on the basis of new evidence from Florim Gashi — another man involved in the alleged plot. It is expected to be heard later this year.

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