One Direction's Niall Horan is suing the Daily Star over a story reporting on a "new drug storm".
The boyband star (pictured, Reuters) has won a round in his libel case against Express Newspapers.
A judge has agreed with Horan's claim that the July article was capable of bearing defamatory meaning.
Horan said the story meant he used hard drugs, crystal meth or crack, during an evening with fellow musicians Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson.
The newspaper said the articles did not bear the meaning alleged or any meaning defamatory of Horan. It asked Mr Justice Dingemans at London's High Court to stop the action in its tracks.
But today, the judge dismissed the application, saying that the article was capable of bearing the defamatory meaning claimed.
This was supported by the extensive reference to a Breaking Bad-style drugs pipe in the story – Breaking Bad being a TV series centred around the manufacture and sale of hard drug crystal meth.
The banner headline was "new drug storm", the article reported that Horan was "staring blankly" and there was express reference to "rumours the singers were using hard drugs", the judge said.
The inclusion of words that "there is no suggestion that this is the case" and reported requests from fans that Horan should not get into drugs – which at least carried the implication that Horan was not then currently into them – were matters to consider when the actual meaning of the article was determined, he added.
Horan was not in court for the ruling.
Last November, Press Gazette revealed Horan's One Direction colleague Harry Styles was suing the Star. This was after it wrongly identified him in an "X-rated" photograph on its front page.
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