Celtic midfielder Neil Lennon has got the go-ahead to sue the Daily Record in the English High Court over articles which he claims potentially implicated him in the alleged robbery of £12,000 of camera equipment from one of the paper’s photographers.
The former Leicester City hero fended off moves by the paper’s publisher, the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd, to have his libel claim thrown out because the English court was not the appropriate venue.
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Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that Lennon had a “substantial” reputation in England that he was entitled to defend in the English courts.
However, the judge ruled that Lennon could not put his claim at its strongest level, that the articles bore the meaning that he was actually guilty of robbery.
Instead, the judge allowed the case to proceed on Lennon’s lesser claim that the articles bore the meaning that such guilt was “highly likely”.
He said this lesser claim was “within the permissible range” of meanings attributable to the article, which enabled the libel claim to go ahead.
Lennon’s claim centred on a front-page story on 20 December, 2002, headlined “Toon cops will quiz ALL Celtic squad”, and covering an alleged incident in which Record photographer Paul Chappells was chased by members of the Celtic team after they emerged from a Newcastle nightclub and had £12,000 of camera equipment taken from him.