Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Court of Appeal Judgement (Alexander Economou v David de Freitas)

PRESS STATEMENT OF ALEXANDER ECONOMOU ON TODAYS COURT OF APPEAL DECISION 21/11/2018

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Four years ago David de Freitas made a series of defamatory allegations in the national press implying I had raped his daughter. At the time my family received death threats and my life was turned upside down [see here] .

I asked him to stop and threatened legal action [see here] but Mr de Freitas continued to repeat his allegations. It was after the fifth defamatory statement that I commenced legal proceedings.

Several months later his lawyers stated that he would continue going to the press and that nothing could prevent him from repeating the 'words complained of' [see here].

I had two choices: Do nothing and be labelled a rapist for the rest of my life, or go to court, clear my name and get an injunction preventing repetition.

A trial date was set for June 2016. Three months before trial I made a 'without prejudice' offer asking for nominal damages of £1 and 25% of my legal costs to settle the case, on condition Mr de Freitas accepted liability. All I ever wanted was to clear my name. [see here]

I never received any response to my settlement offer and the trial went ahead. The judge accepted that David de Freitas had caused serious harm to my reputation but ruled that his free speech rights were more important and gave him a special immunity known as the 'public interest defence'. My defamation claim was dismissed.

I appealed the judgement and today, after a further two years of legal battles, the court of appeal dismissed my claim.

I am incredibly disappointed. In a nutshell this judgement says that it was perfectly legal for Mr de Freitas to wrongly accuse me of raping his daughter, on five separate occasions and in the face of evidence which showed I was innocent. Mr de Freitas never advanced a defence of truth or honest opinion.

This is the first time the 'public interest defence' has been successfully deployed. It is not without controversy because it allows the innocent to be wrongly accused, whilst the accuser is given complete immunity.

To see the legal reasons why I think this judgement is wrong click here.

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1 comment:

  1. So disappointed for you, and so disappointed in our justice system.

    ReplyDelete