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Derisory Damages in first of Bookshop libel cases

07.07.2002 15:21

Housmans Bookshop - Moral Victory, Legal Impasse, Financial Predicament

The High Court veredict against Housmans bookshop to pay only £14 damages on Tuesday 2 July was the culmination of an action brought nearly 2 years ago against the Kings Cross store. They faced the potentially ruinous libel case for stocking the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. The case was brought by someone criticised in Searchlight, who chose to sue only the shop, not the author or publisher concerned, due to his distaste for the sort of material made available in radical bookshops. This was the first case to end up in court, but another case is due in court in autumn against Housmans and also Bookmarks.  The Bookshop Libel Fund is calling for urgent financial support for the shops to cover their costs in these cases, and for a change in the law to stop bookshops being targeted in this way.

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