As reported widely elsewhere, at this link for example, owner of Express and Star newspapers and OK! magazine Richard Desmond, last week lost a libel action against Tom Bower, concerning a passage in the journalist’s unauthorised biography of Conrad Black published in 2007.
Amid all the subsequent comment, Tom Bower’s own ‘My Week’ piece for yesterday’s Observer stands out. Bower believes that Desmond devised the libel complaint ‘to prevent the publication of Rough Trader, my unauthorised biography of Desmond which was completed and printed [but never published] in 2006 (…)’.
Here’s an extract from Bower’s account of the trial:
“The ‘forged’ letters incident was a glorious highlight. My letters in 2005 to Desmond asking for interviews were dismissed by Desmond as ‘forgeries’. Infuriated by Desmond’s audacity, I stood up while he was still giving evidence and signalled to my wife [former London Evening Standard editor, Veronica Wadley] seated behind to exit the court. One hour later, after a dash back to our Hampstead home, she returned clutching a recorded delivery letter sent in 2005 to Desmond’s home and returned by him unopened. For four years, it had been carefully preserved in a white filing cabinet in my study.”