Claimant wins libel victory against The Sun but faces £300,000 costs
A social worker who won her legal battle against The Sun over false accusations printed in the newspaper is facing costs of almost £300,000.
Sylvia Henry is to pay the costs due to a shortfall in the amount she is able to claim from News Group Newspapers (NGN), the publisher of the paper. The senior costs judge, Master Hurst, had previously ruled that any award of costs to Ms Henry should not exceed the amounts approved by the court in previous claims against NGN.
Ms Henry, a social worker in the London borough of Haringey came into strong criticism from The Sun for her involvement in the Baby P case. Baby P, Peter Connelly died after suffering horrific injuries over an eight month period. His mother, her boyfriend and a relative were all convicted of causing or allowing his death. Ms Henry was accused by The Sun of being “grossly negligent” in her handling of the case and the newspaper ran a campaign alleging that the council had been partly responsible for his death.
However the newspaper was shown to have made false accusations against Ms Henry and they printed a written apology and agreed to pay compensation.
Ben Beabey, the solicitor acting for NGN said in the hearing: “The Sun fully accepts that the claimant played no part and bears no responsibility for the circumstances surrounding the death of Peter Connelly and that she did her best for him. The Sun apologises to Ms Henry.”
Despite the ruling Ms Henry still faces a large legal bill. The costs judge stated that Ms Henry’s lawyers had: “largely ignored the provisions of the practice direction” in relation to budgeting costs.