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North West firm Cuff Roberts and Andrew Hartley QC last week led former Liverpool FC goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar into his latest round of litigation against The Sun newspaper
Grobbelaar is fighting last year's historic Court of Appeal decision to overturn an £85,000 libel award he received from The Sun in the late 1990s in the House of Lords. Grobbelaar brought his original case against The Sun in the mid-1990s, after the tabloid alleged that he was involved in fixing football matches. The Court of Appeal ruling was the first time that the court had quashed a libel verdict. It reportedly left Grobbelaar facing a £1.5m legal bill. Grobbelaar's appeal is being heard by five Law Lords: Hobhouse, Bingham, Scott, Steyn and Millett. News International in-house lawyer Daniel Taylor has bypassed instructing a firm of solicitors on the appeal by working directly with media silk Richard Spearman QC. The Sun began making its submissions to the Law Lords last Wednesday, and the newspaper's case seemed simple. Spearman restated the The Sun's belief that articles it had published in 1994-95, accusing Grobbelaar of being involved in match fixing, were true. The Sun had relied on video evidence of Grobbelaar talking about taking money for fixing matches as proof of its allegations. Grobbelaar was never convicted in the criminal courts of match fixing; but as The Sun's case rests on Grobbelaar's guilt, Spearman did not hesitate in saying that the goalkeeper's alleged actions were true. Spearman told the assembled Law Lords on Wednesday afternoon (3 July): "Football is meant to be fair… this is very, very, very serious… Mr Grobbelaar participated in something which goes right to the heart of the way this sport is played in this country." The case continues.