High Court rules against Rubython in F1 libel case

Tony Purnell, the former head of the Jaguar Formula One team, has obtained a ruling in a High Court libel action against Business F1 magazine and its editor, Tom Rubython.

Purnell took the magazine and its controversial editor to court after it published a story alleging Purnell had bribed a journalist.

But in a High Court hearing this week, Mr Justice Eady held that an attempt by the magazine and Rubython to justify the allegation could not be sustained and should be struck out.

Purnell was awarded the costs of the application and was granted an injunction preventing Business F1 from repeating the allegation.

Although the libel trial will go ahead, the only issue for the jury to consider will be the level of damages to be awarded to Purnell.

Dominic Crossley of law firm Steeles, which acted for Purnell, said: "Mr Justice Eady made it very clear that the serious allegations printed in Business F1 could not be proven to be true by Rubython and the magazine.

"Mr Purnell was determined to show that the material Business F1 had published was untrue and he is rightly delighted at the outcome."

Rubython, formerly 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.

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