Richard Desmond kicks off Tom Bower libel battle

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Express Newspapers proprietor Richard Desmond today begins his high court libel battle against biographer Tom Bower.

Desmond is suing over a reference to him in Bower’s 2007 biography of Conrad Black, the former Daily Telegraph owner currently serving a six-and-a-half year fraud sentence in a Florida jail.

The paragraph at the centre of the libel claim relates to Hollinger’s shared printing agreement in London between the Daily Telegraph and Express Newspapers.

The start of the trial is subject to initial legal submissions, including a possible hearing in the court of appeal this afternoon. It is unlikely that the case will be reportable until it gets before the jury.

Black was convicted in July 2007 of siphoning off millions of dollars belonging to Hollinger International when he was chief executive of the media company. He has launched an appeal.

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