Labour frontbencher Richard Burgon wins libel case against The Sun over 'Nazi images' story
Top Labour MP Richard Burgon has won a libel case against The Sun after it claimed he had performed with a band that “delights” in Nazi symbols.
The Shadow Justice Secretary was awarded £30,000 in damages by the High Court, and said he would use the cash to fund a justice internship for a young person in his constituency.
But The Sun said it would appeal the verdict, and argued its coverage was in the public interest amid the ongoing anti-Semitism scandal that has engulfed the Labour party.
Mr Burgon sued the paper over a 2017 article titled: “Reich and Roll: Labour’s justice boss ridiculed after he joins a heavy metal band that delights in Nazi symbols.”
It said the Leeds band Dream Tröll, which Mr Burgon made a guest appearance with, paid homage to the Nazi SS in a social media post.
The paper argued an image published by the group which read “We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Tröll” used the same typeface as the SS for the letter “S”.
But this morning, Mr Justice Dingemans told the High Court he had found in favour of Mr Burgon, after the MP argued the post was influenced by 1970s band Black Sabbath, not the former German military wing.
Mr Burgon said in a tweet: “Delighted to have won my High Court case against The Sun. Their slur attempting to link me to “Nazi symbols" was held to be false and defamatory.
“The Judge ordered The Sun to pay £30,000 in damages. With that I'll fund a paid justice internship for a young person from Leeds.”
In a statement, The Sun said: “We are deeply disappointed by this judgment and we will be appealing.
“We fundamentally disagree with the Judge's conclusions and, furthermore, fear they may act as a brake on the ability of the free press to hold those in power to account and to scrutinise the judgment of those who aspire to the highest offices in the land.”
It added: “In light of the ongoing anti-Semitism controversies which were engulfing the Labour party at the time of publication, we firmly believe it was in the public interest to assess the Shadow Justice Secretary’s wisdom in being associated with the image.”