Libel action brought by tattooist Billy Hay against Bindmans client who accused him of assault dismissed.
Truth and public interest defences successful
Nina Cresswell, the Defendant in the claim, was sexually assaulted by Billy Hay in 2010 after a night in a club when she was 20 years old. The police did not pursue any investigation, and ten years later, she decided to write about the assault and name her attacker in order to protect other women. He then sued her for libel.
Today, the Court dismissed the whole of the claim, finding that Ms Cresswell’s account was true, that Billy Hay did assault her as she described, and that it was in the public interest for her to publish her account of the assault.
Tamsin Allen, partner at Bindmans LLP who represented Ms Cresswell, said:
This is an important judgment that gives much-needed support and guidance to women who seek to name their attackers to protect others. It is the first such judgment, clarifying the law for victims of assault who have been silenced by their abusers and failed by the police. It is powerful testament to the bravery of Ms Cresswell in defending the claim over two years at huge personal cost, and underlines calls for reform in libel law so that public interest publications can more easily be defended.
Nina Cresswell said:
I am hugely relieved and delighted at the judgment and I can’t believe that I am finally free to speak the truth about the man who attacked me. My only motivation throughout has been to protect other women from risk, and I am confident this judgment will help others to do the same.
Nina Cresswell and Bindmans LLP would like to express their gratitude to Ms Cresswell’s barrister, Jonathan Price at Doughty Street Chambers, and to the Good Law Project who campaigned for her and helped to raise funds for legal costs.
The final judgment can be read in full here, and a summary can be found here.