Packham wins two court cases, loses one

The Packham Three case is over, and Chris Packham has won against two of them. The judge dismissed the case against the third. A PDF of the full judgement is available here.

Country Squire magazine editor Dominic Wightman and writer Nigel Bean apologised to the BBC TV presenter for the articles and tweets that defamed him. They removed or edited those tweets and articles. They said afterwards that while they are, “disappointed by the judgment,” they “fully respect it”. The judge dismissed the claims against Country Squire proof-reader Paul Read.

In a statement following the verdict, the defendants said that they are “concerned of the impact the judgement will have on independent journalism and press freedom, and the ability that celebrity power has in being able to use crowdfunded litigation and overbearing lawyers to crush journalists seeking only to publish the truth.”

They added: “We are left with the sense that Mr Packham, and his solicitors at Leigh Day, have only been interested in using the courts to extract cash by raising significant amounts of crowdfunded money and leaving independent journalists facing bills of over half a million pounds.”

It was an ill-tempered case. Mr Justice Saini’s judgment included condemnation of the actions of both sides during the trial, especially Dominic Wightman’s “highly inappropriate and offensive correspondence” with Chris Packham’s solicitor Leigh Day.

The judgment also called out the “inappropriate and offensive communications (including highly distressing trolling)” against Dominic Wightman, which included multiple death threats, even during the trial. Chris Packham has spoken out against the same subject, condemning death threats aimed at himself.

Mr Justice Saini entered judgment for £90,000 of damages against Dominic Wightman and Nigel Bean. He continues to hear further argument over the claims against Paul Read, and in relation to costs that Chris Packham will have to pay Paul Read.

Chris Packham outside the High Court on 25 May 2023

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