Arron Banks wins partial victory in libel case with journalist Carole Cadwalladr
Brexit-supporting businessman Arron Banks has won a partial victory in his ongoing libel case with journalist Carole Cadwalladr, over comments she made in a TED Talk.
Mr Banks, a major funder to the Leave campaign in the run-up to the Brexit referendum in 2016, sued Ms Cadwalladr, arguing the statements she made in 2019 were libellous, and "false and defamatory".
He is seeking damages and an injunction to prevent the continued publication of her comments, which suggested Mr Banks had secretly broken the law on electoral funding by taking money from a foreign power and lied about the matter, and can still be viewed online.
In 2020, The Electoral Commission revealed a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation found no evidence to support the allegations against him and his companies.
Ms Cadwalladr, an investigative journalist, defended her comments at trial, arguing they were in the public interest.
In June 2022, Mrs Justice Steyn dismissed the claims from Mr Banks, saying Ms Cadwalladr held a "reasonable belief" that her comments were in the public interest, and that he had not suffered serious harm to his reputation.
Mr Banks challenged the ruling in the Court of Appeal, with his legal team saying the judge had incorrectly assessed his reputational harm, and that defamation law had been misinterpreted.
In the latest ruling, three judges said Mr Banks' appeal should be allowed in relation to the TED talk's publication, but upheld the other conclusions made by the judge.
It means Mr Banks could win damages from Ms Cadwalladr, but only linked to the publication of the TED talk between April 2020 and the rulings in June last year.
Lord Justice Warby, who heard the appeal earlier this month, said in the ruling that some of the judge's conclusions on the harm caused to Mr Bank's reputation were "unsustainable", adding it was also wrong to find that the harm was diminished because the publications were made within an "echo chamber" of Ms Cadwalladr's supporters.
He said: "If what the judge meant by the term 'echo chamber' was that most of the publishees were people who disliked or had a generally low opinion of the claimant that was irrelevant to the question she had to decide.
"If, as I believe, what she meant was that in the minds of most publishees the claimant already had a bad reputation for the specific misconduct of taking foreign money in breach of electoral law and lying about it, the evidence did not allow such a finding.
"The judge's finding that harm to the claimant's reputation in the eyes of these publishees was of 'no consequence' to him was also unsustainable.
"If she meant that the claimant did not care what these publishees thought, that was legally irrelevant to the issue of whether serious reputational harm was established.
"There was no evidence to support a conclusion that others' adverse opinions of the claimant were of 'no consequence' to him in the sense that they could have no practical impact upon his life."
The TED Talk in question was viewed around 1 million times in England and Wales initially, but only another 100,000 watched after the Electoral Commission statement on 29 April 2020.
Damages owed, and his application for an injunction to prevent any further publication, are both yet to be determined.