Statement in Open Court
(1) Jane Tanner (2) Russell O'Brien (3) Fiona Payne (4) David Payne (5) Matthew Oldfield (6) Rachael Oldfield (7) Dianne Webster and Express Newspapers
16 October 2008
for the Claimants
My Lord, in this action I appear for the Claimants Jane Tanner, Russell O’Brien,
Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster.
My friend Mr Keith
Mathieson appears for the Defendant, Express Newspapers,
which publishes the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and
the Daily Star.
The Claimants are all
Kate and Gerry McCann and
were holidaying with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal,
in May 2007. On the night of Madeleine McCann’s
disappearance, the Claimants were dining with the McCanns in
restaurant close to the McCanns’ apartment.
The Claimants have frequently been referred to in the media and have become popularly known as the “Tapas 7”.
Between July and December
last year, the Defendant published a number of articles
which referred to the Tapas 7 or to one or more of the
Claimants individually. These articles suggested that at
least some of the Claimants, in particular Dr O’Brien, had
been identified as potential suspects by the Portuguese
authorities. The articles also suggested that the Claimants
had covered up the true facts concerning
disappearance and misled the
authorities investigating her disappearance.
The Defendant accepts that these allegations are wholly untrue and that there is no evidence to support them. The Defendant acknowledges that the actions of the Claimants following Madeleine’s disappearance were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to find Madeleine and to support the McCann family through a very difficult and stressful time.
The Defendant is
represented here today by its solicitor in order to
apologise for the distress and embarrassment caused to the
Claimants. Full apologies are also being published by the
three newspapers in question. As an expression of its
regret, the Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages
to the Claimants, which they will donate to the Find
Madeleine Fund. The Defendant has also agreed to pay the
Claimants’ legal costs.
Solicitor for the
My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant, I confirm what my friend has said.
The Defendant apologises
to each of the Claimants for publishing false allegations
about them. The Defendant regrets the distress caused to the
Claimants and in acknowledgment of that I confirm that the
Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages to the
Claimants, which they will donate to the Find Madeleine
Fund, and to pay their legal costs.
for the Claimants
My Lord, in all the circumstances, I am pleased to confirm that the Claimants’ objectives in bringing these proceedings have been achieved.
Solicitor Advocate on behalf of the Claimants
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain
on behalf of the Defendant