THE BARRISTER whose harassment claims sparked off a media furore has launched a libel action against The Sunday Telegraph.
Association of Women Barristers chair Barbara Hewson claims that an article in the paper by columnist Minette Marrin attacked her integrity by accusing her of inventing her widely reported harassment claims.
She has hired prominent libel lawyer David Price, of David Price & Co, to take on the newspaper.
A writ issued by Price alleging libel names The Sunday Telegraph and its editor Charles Moore as the defendants.
Marrin's column on 7 May followed Hewson's claims in an article on harassment in the New Law Journal that a “number of CLE students” had been promised pupillages in return for sexual favours.
Price says the libel claim hinges on Marrin's allegation that Hewson was “crying wolf” which is “an accusation that she invented a danger that
“My client is not prepared to tolerate such attacks on her integrity and judgement which divert attention from the serious problem of sexual harassment at the Bar,” he adds.
“No matter how uncomfortable it is for the profession to acknowledge its existence, it must be prepared to do so and to deal with it properly and effectively.”
Hewson declined to comment on the writ.
But she told The Lawyer earlier this month that the claims in her article over offers of pupillage for sex had been blown up out of all proportion by the national media which reported that the offers regularly occurred, a claim which she never made.
The Sunday Telegraph declined to comment.