A Saudi billionaire, whose family owns car dealer Hartwell, has won a key Court of Appeal fight to sue The Sunday Times for libel over an article linking him to Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist atrocities.
The Appeal Court gave Yousef Jameel the go-ahead to bring a libel claim that a Sunday Times article about him bore the meaning that there were reasonable grounds for suspecting he was associated with bin Laden and helped fund the September 11 attacks.
The High Court had thrown out Jameel’s bid to make this claim, and instead permitted him to sue Times Newspapers Ltd on the basis that the article last June bore only the lesser meaning that there were grounds for inquiry or investigation.
Now Lord Justice Sedley, sitting with Lord Justice Longmore and Lord Justice Maurice Kay, have reinstated Jameel’s original claim.
However, the judges rejected Hartwell’s appeal against the High Court ruling that it could not bring a separate libel claim over the article.
They backed Mr Justice Gray’s High Court decision that the article was incapable of carrying any meaning defamatory of Hartwell.
The case, in which Jameel complained over an article headlined “Car tycoon ‘linked’ to bin Laden” and illustrated with photographs of him, Hartwell premises and the Twin Towers burning, will now proceed to trial.