Cruddas defamation decision partly overturned

Cruddas v Calvert and others [2015] EWCA Civ 171, 17 March 2015

The Court of Appeal has partly overturned an appeal brought by Peter Cruddas, the former treasurer of the Conservative Party. The appeal was against two Times Newspaper journalists who had posed as international financiers in an undercover operation. In this operation, the journalists discussed with Mr Cruddas the possibility of exchanging monetary donations to the Conservative Party for political influence.

From the articles that were subsequently published, Mr Cruddas alleged there were three defamatory meanings. The court found that the first meaning was substantially true, and dismissed the claim for malicious falsehood in respect of the first meaning. The second and third defamatory meanings were, however, upheld by the Court of Appeal for libel and malicious falsehood.

To take account of the partly overturned decision, the judge reduced the damages awarded by the High Court from £180 000 to £50 000 to reflect that meaning one had in fact been justified.