Defamation & Rape: Accused Man Loses Claim

03-08-2016

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In a recent decision, Alexander Economou lost a defamation claim, even though the judge agreed that the statements made about him were defamatory.

Mr Economou had been accused of rape by Eleanor de Freitas, but she was herself charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Just days before the case went to Trial, Ms de Freitas killed herself. 

Ms de Freitas' father voiced concerns about the system which he felt had let his daughter down, in various articles. As a result of their publication, Mr Economou, a wealthy son of a shipping magnate, decided to sue Mr de Freitas for defamation. 

Whilst the judge accepted that some of the statements made in the articles had a defamatory meaning, the comments had been made in the public interest. For this reason, the defamation claim failed. 

The judge also commented that the defamation proceedings appeared to have been vengeful, which may well have had an impact upon the outcome of the case. 

Mr Economou is now facing a legal bill of around £1million.

The Defamation Act 2013, which has been in force for over a year now, has raised the hurdle for claimants in defamation cases. Judith Thompson, Partner at Samuels Solicitors and defamation law expert, says "whilst on the face of it this may seem like a harsh decision, it underlines the importance of considering all of the potential statutory defences available to an opponent, before commencing defamation proceedings". 

At Samuels Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with defamation claims for clients all over the UK. These involve publication of defamatory statements on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, defamatory reviews appearing on TripAdvisor and Google Reviews, as well as publications on radio, television and in local and national newspapers. 

We are committed to ensuring that our clients have access to justice and so we will discuss whether your matter is suitable for some form of flexible funding arrangement at the very start.

If you have a strong case, we may be able to act for you under a no win no fee agreement, which are currently still available for defamation claims. 

Contact us today for a free discussion about your case. 

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