Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Mail pays Church aide libel costs

High Court
The Daily Mail denied libelling the former Catholic Church spokesman

The Daily Mail's publishers have been ordered to pay court costs of a former Catholic Church spokesman who won a libel action against the newspaper.

Austen Ivereigh, 43, had already won 30,000 damages over a story suggesting that he was a hypocrite over abortion.

He said the Mail claimed he manoeuvred two women towards terminations while publicly condemning abortion. Associated Newspapers denied libel.

Mr Ivereigh was a Catholic Church spokesman at the time, in 2006.

He was director of public affairs for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Church in England and Wales.

After ordering the publishers to pay all costs on Friday, Mr Justice Eady said Mr Ivereigh had "achieved an unqualified victory" after "the smearing, belittling of his personality and his character".

Mr Ivereigh called his libel victory "a great day for justice and a great day for truth".

He had argued in London's High Court that he was "unfairly trashed" by the June 2006 story, leaving his life "in limbo with his reputation in tatters".

The newspaper claims also meant that he should have been excommunicated for breaching canon law by actively procuring an abortion.

Second trial

The nine-day trial concerned Mr Ivereigh's relationships with Siobhan, a fellow graduate student at Oxford who had an abortion 20 years ago, and a divorcee identified as X who miscarried his twins in 2006.

Ronald Thwaites QC, for Mr Ivereigh, claimed the abortion was a "done deal" carried out behind his client's back.

They denied the newspaper's claim that Mr Ivereigh accompanied Siobhan to the clinic and collected her afterwards.

He also claimed he supported X after she fell pregnant, but that she wanted nothing more to do with him.

X claimed that he backed out of the relationship, leading her to arrange an abortion before she suffered a miscarriage.

Associated Newspapers denied libel and said its story was substantially true and fair comment.

A jury had failed to reach a verdict in a first trial of the libel action last year.

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