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Niall Horan wins in round one of libel action against the Star

By | Published on Tuesday 8 December 2015

Niall Horan

A libel case being pursued by One Direction’s Niall Horan against the Daily Star will proceed, after a judge refused the tabloid’s request to have the case dismissed.

The action relates to an article back in July that implied the 1D boy used drugs during a night out with Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson. And we’re not just talking about a little puff on a joint in a van. Oh no, the tabloid was implying this 1D member was into the proper stuff, crystal meth, or crack maybe.

Or was it? Exactly what the newspaper was implying – or what its readers may have inferred – is at the heart of this case. Horan’s legal team reckon that claims their client was “staring blankly” and that there were “rumours the singers were using hard drugs”, coupled with some ‘Breaking Bad’ references, made it very clear what the Star was alleging.

The paper argued that it threw enough doubt into its story – at one point stating “there is no suggestion that this is the case” regarding the hard drug allegations – that readers would not have interpreted the article in the defamatory way that Horan claims.

Quite what the average Star reader may have inferred is still to be debated but, in a stage one victory for the popstar, judge James Dingemans said that the tabloid’s piece was at least capable of bearing the defamatory meaning that Horan claims. Therefore, he said, this case should proceed to a full hearing, and the Star’s application for dismissal was rejected.

It remains to be seen if the case now gets to court, or whether the newspaper will seek to settle given the ambiguities around the interpretation of the piece.