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In libel cases few lawyers have managed to use the risky Reynolds defence successfully. The defence should allow the media to print allegations that are in the public interest whether or not they can be proved as true, as long as certain tests are applied. The tests, though, are often too rigorous for media defendants to meet.
But Gavin Millar QC of Doughty Street Chambers has managed it. He defended anti-fascist magazine Searchlight against the British National Party’s (BNP) libel action. The BNP took issue against an article that alleged the party was feuding internally, but Mr Justice Eady ruled: “There is a duty… among political commentators generally to cover the goings on in political parties, including disputes.”
The BNP’s barrister was Adrian Davies, instructed by Osmond & Osmond. Davies has worked for a number of famous clients. One of his other clients was controversial historian David Irving, who is currently serving three years in an Austrian jail after pleading guilty to holocaust denial.