Former Jaguar boss wins libel case against BusinessF1 mag

A High Court jury has awarded Tony Purnell, the former head of the Jaguar Formula One team, £75,000 in damages in his libel action against BusinessF1 magazine and its editor, Tom Rubython.

Rubython and BusinessF1 magazine will also have to pay Purnell's legal costs, making the total bill likely to exceed £200,000.

Purnell took BusinessF1 to court over a story alleging Purnell had bribed a journalist.

Rubython pleaded justification (that the story was true), but at the hearing in March, Mr Justice Eady struck this out.

Purnell was awarded the costs of the application and was granted an injunction preventing BusinessF1 from repeating the allegation.

The only issue left for the jury to consider was the level of damages to be awarded to Purnell, which took into account the conduct of Rubython leading up to and during the trial, in a ruling presided over by Mr Justice Gray.

Purnell said: "This has been a challenging experience. Legal action was a last resort, but I am highly satisfied with the result. BusinessF1 sets out its stall as a magazine that readers can trust. The jury gave a firm and unequivocal ruling that now sets the record straight."

Dominic Crossley of law firm Steeles, which acted for Purnell, said: "Mr Purnell took a brave stand against a magazine that persisted, right up to trial, to conduct an aggressive and unrelenting campaign against him. Mr Purnell has now achieved the result he deserves. This is not the only action being taken against BusinessF1 and its editor, who must now realise that they cannot continue to publish stories that are so wildly inaccurate."

Rubython, former editor of Formula 1 Magazine, was told to pay damages of £8,500 plus legal costs in August last year to Alan Donnelly, official representative of the president of motorsport body, the FIA.

The ruling followed a story in the magazine falsely alleging that Donnelly had diverted some of his €11m fees from the FIA for personal use when they should have gone to his company, Sovereign.

Rubython was unavailable for comment.

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