Court date set for Times criminal libel Paris showdown

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The Barclay brothers have pressed on with their bid to sue the
Times editor Robert Thomson and media editor Dan Sabbagh for criminal
libel.
 
A preliminary hearing was held yesterday
(Thursday) and lawyers for the Telegraph-owning twins paid a
2,000-euro deposit to continue the case.
 
A full hearing is now to take place on February 9
where the pair could face a modest fine, likey to be no more than a few
thousand euros, but they also face the prospect of getting a criminal
record.
 
The action relates to an article in The Times in
November that suggested the twins “swoop on owners in distress” to
acquire businesses – something which they have categorically denied.
 
Thomson said: “It is unfortunate that the Barclay
brothers have not seen fit to withdraw their action in the interests of
press freedom. They had many potential remedies, including a letter to
The Times, a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission or a case
brought in Britain, where The Times is published. Instead they chose to
pursue a criminal defamation action.”
 
But according to a spokesman for the twins, they
chose to sue in France because they have homes in Monte Carlo and Sir
David has a medical condition which would prevent him from attending a
lengthy hearing in the UK.

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