The high court heard that an article which included Sir James Dyson in a group of “rogues” and mentioned his support for Vote Leave, as well as his decision to relocate his global headquarters to Singapore, was deemed “harmful and upsetting” to the inventor and businessperson.
Dyson provided a written statement to the court expressing that a Daily Mirror article from last year was a “personal attack” on his life’s accomplishments. He also stated that it was extremely upsetting and caused him pain.
On Tuesday, Dyson appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the initial day of the trial. They are taking legal action against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, for publishing a defamatory article in January 2022. MGN argues that the article was an expression of “honest opinion.”
In his article, Brian Reade, the journalist, expressed that it could be perplexing for a young individual to strive to make ethical choices. He then delved into the behavior of several people, such as former prime minister Boris Johnson, Prince Andrew, and Dyson.
Reade, a columnist for the Mirror, described Dyson as the “tycoon behind vacuum cleaners” who supported Vote Leave because of the potential economic benefits for British industry, but later relocated his global headquarters to Singapore.
He proceeded to say, “Children, speak the language but then betray your nation and if anyone objects, tell them to deal with it.”
In England and Wales, individuals who are the subject of undesirable tales have the ability to take legal action for defamation if they feel that their reputation has been harmed. Possible defenses against this action include proving that the story is mostly accurate based on the likelihood of its truth, is in the best interest of the public, or is an honestly held opinion supported by facts.
The article, according to Justin Rushbrooke KC representing Dyson in court, lacked evidence and caused considerable harm. The statement about “screwing the country” could imply that Dyson had caused harm.
However, Adrienne Page KC of MGN (now called Reach) stated in written submissions that opinions do not necessarily need to be justified, but rather they should be able to be held by an honest person.
She stated, “Many people genuinely believed that the decisions made were a betrayal of our country, which was made worse by the claimant’s previous and influential support for a political stance that has caused significant economic damage in the eyes of many.”
According to Dyson, the choice to relocate his company’s headquarters to Singapore was not influenced by Brexit, but rather was based on long-term business considerations. He also stated that he made a donation of £80m towards educational initiatives.
According to a written testimony, the 76-year-old man stated that he had made significant financial investments in the UK and placed importance on being a positive role model for young individuals.
He added: “Being accused by the defendant in the articles of being a hypocrite who has harmed the country and set a poor moral example for young people is not only false, but also damaging to my reputation.”
Dyson claims that the title of the article insinuated that “cheaters” were succeeding and featured a group of infamous individuals. He also expressed how these criticisms were particularly harmful and upsetting to him.
The hearing presided by Judge Jay will conclude on Friday, with a verdict anticipated at a future time.