Trial 1 in the split-trial libel cases of Harcombe and Kendrick v Associated Newspapers and Calman concluded on 11 July 2023 after seven days in court
Trial 1 in the split-trial libel cases of Harcombe and Kendrick v Associated Newspapers and Calman concluded on 11 July 2023 after seven days in court, with judgment reserved by Mr Justice Nicklin. Sarah Palin acts as junior counsel for Associated Newspapers. The case, described last year by the Judge as "the most significant piece of defamation litigation that [he has] seen in a very long time", concerns an investigation published by The Mail on Sunday under the headline “The Deadly Propaganda of the Statin Deniers’ about the public challenge by a group of doctors and researchers to established medical opinion about the efficacy and side effects of statins, one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the UK. Issues for Trial 1 included a public interest defence under s.4 of the Defamation Act 2013, statutory qualified privilege defences under s15 Defamation Act 1996 and s6 Defamation Act 2013 (for fair and accurate reports of statements published by government and peer reviewed scientific articles), issues of malice, fact/opinion and meaning (the latter unusually not having been determined at an earlier stage because of the "complicating factor" of the principle in Curistan v Times Newspapers  QB 231). If the defence under s4 is not successful the case will proceed to Trial 2 in which the remaining issues, including potential truth and honest opinion defences, will be determined.