Big Brother contestant appeals against libel suit dismissal

Big Brother 4 housemate Lisa Jeynes, who claims that she was portrayed as a man posing as a woman, appealed today against a judge's decision to throw out her libel action.

The 39-year-old model, who featured in the 2003 series of the reality show, wants to sue over publications on the cover of Love it! magazine and in the News of the World in May 2006.

She is complaining about the words: "BB's Lisa 'the geezer'. My fake boobs fell out on date with James Hewitt!"

She says the innuendo - against rumours that there was to be a transsexual contestant - was that she was really a man posing as a woman, a transgender or transsexual.

News Magazines Ltd and News Group Newspapers, who deny libel, argue that the words complained of taken in their proper context could not bear her "far-fetched" meaning.

Last April, High Court judge Mr Justice Eady dismissed her claim, ruling that no reasonable reader could conclude that the words complained of bore the meaning she alleged.

"That would be to read far too much into those words," he said.

Ms Jeynes, of Teasel Avenue, Penarth, South Glamorgan, was at the Court of Appeal today to hear her counsel, Adrian Davies, argue that the case should be allowed to proceed.

He told the Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, sitting with Lord Justice Tuckey and Lord Justice Jacob, that the effect of the judge's ruling would be that it would be perverse of a jury to attribute to the word "geezer" its dictionary meaning.

It should be left to a jury to decide whether the cover line was reasonably capable of bearing the meaning alleged, and whether - in the case of the magazine - there was sufficient proximity between the cover line and text, which was not the subject of complaint, to cure the defamatory sting.

The appeal judges said they will give their ruling on Thursday morning.

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