Sharon Stone libel win versus Mail

By Roger Pearson

Hollywood star Sharon Stone accepted a public apology and accepted “substantial” but undisclosed libel damages at London’s High Court today over newspaper allegations that she left her son in a car while she was eating out in a restaurant.

The story, which appeared in the Mail on 20 June last year, was headed: “Sharon’s son sleeps in the car while she dines out”.

Ms Stone’s solicitor, Rupert Grey, told Mr Justice Eady : “The Daily Mail published an article about a visit to the Ivy Restaurant in London that Sharon Stone had made the previous Saturday night.

"It was accompanied by a photograph, taken through a car windscreen at night, of the inside of a car which showed the driver of the car in the front seat and a child asleep in the back. The child was Sharon Stone’s son. His face had been blanked out by the Daily Mail.”

Mr Grey said the article went on to report that Ms Stone had “left her four year old son asleep in a car with her driver for more than two hours outside the Ivy while she enjoyed a late night dinner date with what it described as a “mystery mail companion."

He continued : “It included remarks critical of her for doing so, it said he was likely to be uncomfortable in the heat and traumatised by paparazzi flash photography. The article conveyed the clear allegation that Sharon Stone had neglected her son in a shameful and selfish way.”

Mr Grey said that other newspapers later picked up the story and it was reported in the UK and worldwide.

He said that nearly three weeks later, on 8 July, the Daily Mail published another article this time headed “Sharon’s dinner date and this time her baby goes too."

“This piece was accompanied by a photograph of Sharon Stone carrying her other son, who is two months old, in a carry cot outside a restaurant. This article reminded its readers that three weeks ago Miss Stone had attracted criticism when she left her other son in her car with a minder as she enjoyed a late night meal at the Ivy,” said Mr Grey.

However, he said that the allegations in the first article, and repeated in the second one were “completely untrue.”

“Far from leaving her son outside in the car for two hours (or at all), they had dinner together in the restaurant. It was their last night together before her son flew back to America the following day,” he told the judge.

“Neither is there a shred of truth in the allegation that Ms Stone was having a late night dinner date with a ‘mystery male companion’.

“Miss Stone was appalled to find these allegations appearing in the Daily Mail and then repeated elsewhere in the media. She had no option but to issue this claim for libel to set the record straight.”

He told the judge that the claim had now been settled and Ms Stone had accepted a “substantial sum” by way of damages which she proposed to pay to charity.

Kirsty Howarth for the Daily Mail told the judge : “The Daily Mail published these articles in good faith on the basis of information with which it had been provided and which at the time it had no reason to doubt.

"However, it is now happy to accept that this allegation was untrue and that she did not leave her son outside in the car while she had a late night dinner at the Ivy.”

Miss Howarth said the paper withdrew the allegation and “unreservedly apologises to Sharon stone for the distress and embarrassment it had caused her."

Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

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