Lifestyle adviser Carole Caplin was portrayed as “some sort of sexpot or randy masseuse” by a Daily Mail story, the High Court was told today.
The article – published in September 2010 – also gave the impression she was a “Svengali or Rasputin type figure” in the marriage of Tony and Cherie Blair, her solicitor-advocate David Price QC claimed.
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Ms Caplin was in court to hear Daily Mail owners Associated Newspapers apply to have her libel case against the newspaper struck out.
The newspaper’s counsel, Catrin Evans, told Mrs Justice Sharp that the meanings Caplin attributed to the story – flagged up on the front page with the headline “Will Carole Caplin lift the lid on Blairs’ marriage?” – were “unsustainable”.
“The article is not capable of being defamatory of the claimant at all and therefore the claim should be dismissed,” she said.
Price said the story suggested Caplin had insisted Cherie Blair tell her every last detail of her sex life with Tony and so there were strong grounds to suspect Caplin would disclose their sex secrets for financial gain.
It also inferred the massages she gave Tony Blair involved sexual activity and that Caplin could blow the lid on their marriage and finish them, he said.
Price said the “ordinary reader at the breakfast table” would assume that, if something was given prominence and significance, there was a reason for it, adding: “The defendant’s approach to meaning is based on over-analysis, flawed logic and a massive playing-down of the impression created by the article.”
He added: “My client’s business involves respect for confidential information – it’s at the heart of what she does, at the heart of this relationship.”
There were no grounds for suspecting she would break that confidence and such a claim was clearly damaging.
Evans said the meanings suggested by Price were exaggerated and inferential, and the article, which posed rhetorical questions, needed to be looked at as a whole.
The judge reserved her decision to a later date.