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Morrissey's NME Libel Case Given Go Ahead
The Quietus , October 26th, 2011 07:03

Former Smith frontman's label case against NME to be heard before a jury next year

Morrissey's libel case against the NME, in which he claims the magazine inaccurately portrayed him to be racist, has been give the go ahead by the high court. The case stems from an interview published in the NME in 2007, in which Morrissey claims his words were twisted in order to make him appear racist.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that the former Smiths frontman's case against former NME editor Conor McNicholas and the NME's publisher IPC Media will be heard before a jury next year. It arrives after the NME sought to strike out the libel claim, due to the long delay between the publication of the interview and Morrissey's claim.

Tugendhat wrote: "Overall, in my judgment a proper balance between the Article 10 right of freedom of expression of [NME magazine] and Mr Morrissey's right to the protection of his individual reputation requires, in the circumstances of this case, that the action be permitted to proceed."

Morrissey issued a statement after this morning's ruling. "In 2007 the NME viciously attacked me and labelled me a racist and a hypocrite," he said. "Last week they sought to avoid facing me in court to settle the matter once and for all. "I am delighted that the NME's attempt to stifle my claim was unsuccessful and that as a result I will be able to use the very public forum of the high court in London to clear my name, loud and clear for all to hear."

A spokesperson for NME said: "NME recently sought to strike out Morrissey's claim on grounds of a lengthy delay. After almost four years, we are glad that the matter will now proceed to trial and we will finally get the opportunity to bring this matter to a close."

The high court trial is expected to start in the middle of 2012.