Jimmy White set to receive substantial libel damages over Daily Star Sunday betting scam story

Snooker player Jimmy White is to pocket substantial libel damages over a newspaper story which said his aide was in a betting probe.

White, 53, who had complained about a June 2012 article in the Daily Star, was praised as a "sportsman of the highest integrity" by High Court judge Mr Justice Mitting today.

Express Newspapers had made an offer of amends but disputed the amount of compensation.

But, a day into the hearing in London, White's counsel, Robert Sterling, said that it was now agreed that he should receive substantial damages – although the figure was not disclosed.

Sterling said that the settlement had enabled Mr White "to get on and do what he does best".

Justice Mitting said: "Having heard him give his evidence, he impressed me as a sportsman of the highest integrity and it is to be regretted that – even to the extent that it was – his integrity was called into question by this article."

In 2014 Mr Justice Tugendhat had held that the article clearly meant that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that White's friend, John Callaghan, used insider information communicated to him by White to place winning bets, and so that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that both men acted dishonestly to enable Callaghan to place winning bets.

But Mr Justice Tugendhat held in that ruling that the words complained of fell short of alleging actual dishonesty or other wrongdoing.

''There are no words alleging actual guilt," he said.

"The dominant words are words referring to suspicion or investigation, and there are matters which are included in the article which are exculpatory. Reading the article as a whole, as the reader must be assumed to do, it would be unreasonable to understand actual guilt.

"On the other hand, the reader is given clearly to understand that there has already been an investigation by the Daily Star, and that the outcome of the investigation is that there are grounds to suspect dishonesty.''

He rejected a submission that the words were not defamatory of White and recorded that it was not in dispute that the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association had said in August 2012 that it could not find any evidence of inappropriate betting activity in relation to statements in the article complained of, or by White, and that no further action would be taken.

White, of Epsom, Surrey, told Mr Justice Mitting: "The story caused considerable distress to me. I got accused of being a cheat.

"One thing I have never done in my life is cheated when playing snooker, which I love. I even call my own fouls.

"I was hurt bad and it caused lots of stress to my family."

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