Jenifer Howlett, a former Councillor and Mayor of Castle Point, Essex, was successful in further libel proceedings brought against Terry Holding, a local multimillionaire. Following a week long trial, a High Court Jury unanimously found in Mrs Howlett’s favour and ordered Mr Holding to pay her substantial damages. The Court also imposed an injunction against Mr Holding.

The case was highly unusual, not only because of the manner in which the libels were published (in the form of banners towed behind an aircraft, and leaflets dropped from the skies above Essex), but also because the dispute arose following Mrs Howlett’s previous libel victory against Mr Holding in October 2003, when a unanimous Jury awarded her £65,000 in damages.

Press Release

Former Mayor victorious in further libel action against banner-flying millionaire

27 May 2005

A High Court Jury today unanimously held that Mrs Jenifer Howlett, a former Mayor and Borough Councillor in Castle Point, Essex, had been libelled by a multi-millionaire scrap merchant, Mr Terry Holding.

In what was a highly unusual case, the Jury found that Mr Holding had been responsible for the dropping of thousands of leaflets from an aircraft on 1 November and 16 December 2003 as well as for flying a number of banners in the skies over Canvey Island and the surrounding area, all of which contained false and highly defamatory allegations to the effect that Mrs Howlett was a thief.

The banners and leaflets were published in November and December 2003, a matter of weeks after Mrs Howlett had won a previous libel action against Mr Holding and his company, in which another High Court Jury had unanimously found in her favour (following a two week trial) and awarded her £65,000 in damages (the largest Jury award of 2003).

During the trial on this occasion (which included evidence from 18 witnesses) Mr Holding denied any involvement with the dropping of the leaflets. However, in reaching their unanimous verdict, the Jury clearly did not believe his evidence.

As well as awarding Mrs Howlett substantial damages, the Court also expressed its disapproval of Mr Holding’s behaviour by taking the unusual step of ordering him to pay the whole of Mrs Howlett’s costs on the indemnity basis.

Following the verdict, Mrs Howlett said that she was delighted that, once again, a Jury had found unanimously in her favour. Mrs Howlett said “I indicated at the outset that all I wanted was for this campaign of harassment to stop. All Mr Holding had to do was apologise. Instead, he chose to put me through the stress of another Jury trial. I am absolutely delighted that, once again, the Jury has found in my favour and that justice has been done. All I hope now is that Mr Holding will finally leave me and my family in peace.”.

Enquiries: Adam Tudor, Isabel Hudson

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