Russell Brand accepts “substantial” damages from Daily Star over rape claim

By Roger Pearson

Comedian Russell Brand today accepted a public apology and ‘substantial’but undisclosed libel damages at London’s High Court, over a Daily Star story wrongly linking him to the alleged drugging and raping of a 20-year-old-woman.

Brand, the former host of TV show Big Brother’s Little Brother, sued over the front page article on 4 September 2006 under the headline “Brand In Rape Quiz – I was drugged claims girl, 20”.’ The piece continued inside the paper with the further headline “I was drugged and raped in BB star Brand’s flat”.

At a brief hearing at London’s High Court today, Brand’s solicitor Paul Fox told judge Mr Justice David Eady: ‘The articles describe the victim’s allegations that she was slipped a drugged drink and raped during a party at the claimant’s rented flat during the Edinburgh festival.

‘The meaning of the article was that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that the claimant drugged and raped a young woman. This was totally untrue.

‘The claimant was never suspected of the alleged rape nor was there any evidence at all to involve him in its circumstances. Rather, at the police’s request, he assisted them as a witness.”

He said that Band was forced to issue a press statement on the same day denying any involvement in the alleged rape, and that he demanded an apology through his solicitors, highlighting the fact that the article suggested he used drugs to facilitate rape when in fact he had publicly expressed his abhorrence of drugs and is the patron of the drug rehabilitation charity Focus 12.

He said that this demand for an apology was rejected, but that publishers Express Newspapers published an apology in December after these proceedings were issued.

He continued: ‘I am glad to say that the defendant is here by its counsel to apologise publicly to the claimant. In addition, in order to compensate him for the harm done to his reputation and to underline the sincerity of the apology it has agreed to pay him a substantial sum and his legal costs.”

Nicole Patterson, for Express Newspapers, added: ‘The defendant regrets publishing the article and its initial refusal to apologise. The defendant offers its sincere apologies to Mr Brand and is pleased that the matter is now amicably resolved.”

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