Two recent libel pay-outs to individuals regarded as role models illustrate the danger of libel being exposed to ridicule and contempt, says Rod Dadak

An Italian footballer has just won substantial damages and costs from the Daily Mail. In the France v Italy World Cup football final in 2006, few sports fans will forget the dramatic scene broadcast on TV all over the world when the French captain, Zinedine Zidane, felled Italian player Marco Materazzi with a head butt – rather more colourfully described in French as a “coup de tête”.

Vile abuse

There was fevered speculation as to what had inspired Zidane to headbutt Materazzi. Lip readers were employed and chatrooms all over the world speculated as to what had provoked Zidane. The Daily Mail came up with the answer. It accused Materazzi of what his counsel described as “vile racist abuse” by alleging...

Jean Yves


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