Times editor heads for French legal showdown with Telegraph

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The Barclay brothers are pressing on with their bid to sue the editor of The Times for criminal libel under French law.
 
A preliminary hearing is due to be held in Paris on Thursday, July 23.
The action relates to a series of articles about the Telegraph-owning twins which appeared in The Times last November.
 
They are particularly concerned about an article
which suggested they “swoop on owners in distress” in order to acquire
businesses.
Times editor Robert Thomson and media editor Dan Sabbagh are both named
in the action and could face jail. But legal experts says they are more
likely to end up with a small fine.
 
The Barclay brothers claim they have not been
given adequate right of reply and so are demanding it under French law.
The Times is circulated in Paris and available to read across France on
the internet.
 
The matter is unlikely to come to trial for several more months.
 
Times editor Robert Thomson said: “It is
unfortunate that the Barclay brothers have not seen fit to withdraw
their action in the interests of press freedom.
 
“They had many potential remedies, including a
letter to The Times, a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission or
a case brought in Britain, where The Times is published. Instead they
chose to pursue a criminal defamation action.
 
“I have full faith in the French legal system and
in the judiciary in particular, and look forward to the opportunity to
explain in public the background to our story, to defend the honour of
The Times, and to emphasise the importance of press freedom in Europe.
This will be a fascinating test case for European media law.”

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