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England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions >> Kim v Lee (Rev 1)  EWHC 231 (QB) (09 February 2021)
Cite as:  EWHC 231 (QB)
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS LIST
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| SANG YOUL KIM
|- and -
The Defendant did not appear and was not represented
Hearing date: 26 January 2021
Crown Copyright ©
Mrs Justice Steyn :
B. Application to come off the record
C. The Procedural History
"Unless by 4pm on 23 December 2020 the Defendant makes an interim payment of £10,000 towards the costs ordered in paragraph 1 of the order of Mr Justice Julian Knowles dated 3 September 2020 then the Defendant shall be debarred from defending the claim."
"9. The Defendant breached paragraph 1 of the Unless Order by failing to pay the sum ordered by the due date.
10. I can confirm that no payment has been received at the time of finalising this witness statement. As a result, the Defendant is debarred from defending the claim."
D. Proceeding in the absence of the Defendant
"I took a two-stage approach, considering (1) whether the defendant had received proper notice of the hearing and the matters to be considered at the hearing; (2) if so, whether the available evidence as to the reasons for the litigant's non-appearance supplied a reason for adjourning the hearing. I considered it necessary to bear in mind that the effect of s.12(2) is to prohibit the Court from granting relief that 'if granted, might affect the exercise of the Convention right to freedom of expression' unless the respondent is present or represented or the Court is satisfied that '(a) the applicant has taken all reasonable steps to notify the respondent; or (b) that there are compelling reasons why the respondent should not be notified.'"
"If the person against whom the application for relief is made ("the respondent") is neither present nor represented, no such relief is to be granted unless the court is satisfied –
(a) that the applicant has taken all practicable steps to notify the respondent; or
(b) that there are compelling reasons why the respondent should not be notified."
i) The Notice of Trial was served on 6 January 2021;
ii) A draft index of the trial bundle was served on 15 January 2021;
iii) The trial bundle was served on 19 January 2021.
E. The Effect of the Unless Order
"Subject of course to its precise terms, a debarring order extinguishes any right the debarred defendant would otherwise have to participate in any way in the determination of all the issues which fall for determination at that trial (Michael v Phillips  EWHC 1084 (QB)). The order may debar the defendant from making submissions, calling witnesses or cross-examining witnesses called by other parties. The claimants are still required to prove every fact upon which their case depends, except any facts which the debarred defendants had admitted in their struck out pleadings.
A debarring order does not, in fact, override the control which the trial judge always has over procedure at the trial (rr.27.8, 28.7 and 29.9). For example, in Michael, at the pre-trial review, which the debarred defendants attended by counsel, Soole J directed that they would be permitted to make submissions at the trial as to what if any order for costs should be made."
i) When determining the effect of a debarring order the court should first consider the terms of the order. What does the order state the relevant party is debarred from doing? The wording of the "Unless Order" in this case is clear: the effect is to debar the Defendant from defending the whole of the claim.
ii) If an order debars a defendant from defending the claim, at the trial the defendant should not be permitted to adduce evidence, cross-examine the claimant's witnesses, or make submissions in defence of the claim. In this case, the Defendant was absent, and he did not seek to participate in the trial. In deciding to proceed in his absence I have taken into account that he would, in any event, have been precluded from participating in the trial in any of these ways.
iii) There appears to be a narrow, residual discretion or trial management power to permit a debarred defendant to take some part in the relevant proceedings (e.g., if a debarred defendant considers that a judge is proposing to grant excessive relief based on a misunderstanding of the scope of the claim, the defendant may seek and potentially be granted permission to make submissions on the limited issue of the extent of the pleaded claim). In exercising this power, the court should have regard to the importance of ensuring that a debarring order, which is an important sanction available to the court in the exercise of its case management powers, and an important method of ensuring that the court's case management orders are respected, means what it says and is not undermined by permitting the defendant to escape its effect. This is of relevance in considering the Claimant's application to amend (below).
iv) Where a defendant is not permitted to participate in the trial, by reason of an order debarring him from defending a claim, the claimant does not automatically win by default. At the trial, the claimant must satisfy the court that he is entitled to the relief sought. As Mr Roberts acknowledged, neither the Unless Order nor the Defendant's absence altered the fact that it was for the Claimant to prove his claim and his entitlement to the damages and injunctive relief he sought.
v) An order debarring the defendant from defending a claim does not preclude the court from having regard to the defence. In particular, it is necessary to consider the defence in order to determine the ambit of the dispute: the claimant is not required to prove by evidence facts which have been admitted in the defence.
vi) In Times Travel (UK) Ltd v Pakistan International Airlines Corp the judge suggested, without deciding, that a debarred defendant should normally be able to address the court on the form of order and costs that flow from the substantive judgment. In this case, I have given both parties the opportunity, following the hand down of this judgment, to make written submissions on the form of order and costs (in default of agreement).
F. The Claimant's Application to Amend the Claim Form
"The Claimant therefore claims:
(1) An order to prevent the continuing publication of defamatory articles about the Claimant;
(2) Damages for libel in relation to the first to eighth articles to include aggravated damages;
(4) Costs." (Emphasis added)
G. The Issues
i) The defendant published words by making them known to at least one other person, apart from the Claimant.
ii) The words referred to the Claimant.
iii) The words were defamatory of the Claimant in that (a) they were defamatory at common law and (b) the publication of the words caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to the reputation of the Claimant (s.1(1) Defamation Act 2013). At common law, a statement is defamatory of the claimant if, but only if (a) it imputes conduct which would tend to lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking people generally, and (b) the imputation substantially affects in an adverse manner the attitude of other people towards him, or has a tendency to do so: see Lachaux at -, citing Sim v Stretch  2 All ER 1237, per Lord Atkin at 1240 and Thornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd  1 WLR 1985, per Tugendhat J at .
(i) The Defendant's posts
i) On 6 December 2018 at 09:42, on Facebook, a post in Korean bearing the title "Announcement alerting of the acts of 'fraud' being committed for the 3rd consecutive year, particularly against football fans, during coverage of EPL" ("the first publication"). It received "1.8k likes, 36 comments, 201 shares". (PoC §3(a))
ii) The post referred to in (i) above was published on Instagram on 8 December 2018 ("the second publication"). It received "2607 likes, 223 comments". (PoC §3(b))
iii) On 10 December 2018 at 15:41, on Facebook, a post in Korean bearing the title "Look pastor Sang Youl Kim (Daum columnist, Ilgan Sports correspondent)" ("the third publication"). It received "879 likes, 30 comments, 44 shares". (PoC §3(c))
iv) The post referred to in (iii) above was published on Instagram on 11 December 2018 ("the fourth publication"). It received "1117 likes, 128 comments". (PoC §3(d))
v) On 10 December 2018 at 16:03, on Facebook, a post in Korean bearing the title "It just so happens that I'm getting on a plan so" (the fifth publication"). It received "395 likes, 8 comments, 5 shares". (PoC §3(e))
vi) The post referred to in (v) above was published on Instagram on 11 December 2018 ("the sixth publication"). It received "803 likes, 101 comments". (PoC §3(f))
vii) On 10 December 2018 at 17:11, on Facebook, a post in Korean bearing the title, "*I ask for your help. This is a part of Sang Youl Kim's post" ("the seventh publication"). It received "258 likes, 8 comments, 8 shares". (PoC §3(g))
viii) The post referred to in (vii) above was published on Instagram on 11 December 2018 ("the eighth publication"). It received "573 likes, 28 comments". (PoC §3(h))
(ii) Reference to the Claimant
"The Claimant was clearly identified in the following posts. The posts were all in close proximity to each other and many of the posts were adjacent. Given how social media platforms operate, the Claimant's identity would have been easily accessible to any reasonable reader who knows the basic functions of these social media platforms."
(iii) Whether the words were defamatory of the Claimant
i) The true translation into English of the publications.
ii) The meanings of the words complained of.
iii) Whether those meanings are defamatory at common law.
iv) And whether the publication of those words caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to the Claimant's reputation.
(iv) The defences raised by the Defendant
H. Translation of the Publications
"2) Translation of documents will be provided as follows:
a) By 4pm on 10 February 2020 the parties shall agree a letter of instruction and shall jointly instruct a translator who shall produce an English translation of all documents in Korean which contain the publications complained of and any or any such additional documents in Korean as either party may consider relevant. The translator's fee shall be borne equally by both parties.
b) In default of the parties being able to agree a translator by the abovementioned date, they shall, by 4pm on 17 February 2020, apply to the court for a decision as to the identity of the translator. Each party may suggest no more than two individuals as translators, and provide a brief curriculum vitae outlining those individuals' qualifications.
c) By 4pm on 16 March 2020 the translator shall produce the translation and serve copies on both parties.
d) If the parties have any questions regarding the translation they shall be sent to the translator by 4pm on 23 March 2020, and copied to the opposing side.
e) The translator shall answer any such questions by 4pm on 30 March 2020."
I. Meanings of the words complained of
Meaning: The Law
"i) The governing principle is reasonableness.
ii) The intention of the publisher is irrelevant.
iii) The hypothetical reasonable reader is not naïve but he is not unduly suspicious. He can read between the lines. He can read in an implication more readily than a lawyer and may indulge in a certain amount of loose thinking but he must be treated as being a man who is not avid for scandal and someone who does not, and should not, select one bad meaning where other non-defamatory meanings are available. A reader who always adopts a bad meaning where a less serious or non-defamatory meaning is available is not reasonable: s/he is avid for scandal. But always to adopt the less derogatory meaning would also be unreasonable: it would be naïve.
iv) Over-elaborate analysis should be avoided and the court should certainly not take a too literal approach to the task.
v) Consequently, a judge providing written reasons for conclusions on meaning should not fall into the trap of conducting too detailed an analysis of the various passages relied on by the respective parties.
vi) Any meaning that emerges as the produce of some strained, or forced, or utterly unreasonable interpretation should be rejected.
vii) It follows that it is not enough to say that by some person or another the words might be understood in a defamatory sense.
viii) The publication must be read as a whole, and any 'bane and antidote' taken together. Sometimes, the context will clothe the words in a more serious defamatory meaning (for example the classic "rogues' gallery" case). In other cases, the context will weaken (even extinguish altogether) the defamatory meaning that the words would bear if they were read in isolation (e.g. bane and antidote cases).
ix) In order to determine the natural and ordinary meaning of the statement of which the claimant complains, it is necessary to take into account the context in which it appeared and the mode of publication.
x) No evidence, beyond publication complained of, is admissible in determining the natural and ordinary meaning.
xi) The hypothetical reader is taken to be representative of those who would read the publication in question. The court can take judicial notice of facts which are common knowledge, but should beware of reliance on impressionistic assessments of the characteristics of a publication's readership.
xii) Judges should have regard to the impression the article has made upon them themselves in considering what impact it would have made on the hypothetical reasonable reader.
xiii) In determining the single meaning, the court is free to choose the correct meaning; it is not bound by the meanings advanced by the parties (save that it cannot find a meaning that is more injurious than the claimant's pleaded meaning)."
"In the light, in particular, of principles (v) to (x) and (xii), it is common practice among judges dealing with issues of meaning in defamation claims to read the article complained of and form a provisional view about their meaning, before turning to the parties' pleaded cases and the arguments about meaning."
Publications (1) and (2): the words complained of
"Announcement alerting of the acts of 'fraud' being committed for the 3rd consecutive year, particularly against football fans, during coverage of EPL"
"A writing for revealing 3 years of act of 'cheating' against Football fans in EPL on-site media zone."
"Text charging the acts of 'fraud' being committed for the 3rd consecutive year, and acts deceiving football fans, during coverage of EPL."
"Unfortunately, I am writing this today in order to tell all of you football fans of a problem I have witnessed these past 3 years and to eradicate this problem; despite this journalist's publishing to the mass media, including two platforms I am a part of, and having a direct conversation with the person I am accusing [or prosecuting] in this text amongst various other attempts, I report that this problem continues to happen, and I am writing this text in order to eradicate this problem once and for all and to prevent this problem repeating from this point forward."
"Today, unfortunately, I have something I have to reveal a problem which I had witnessed for last 3 years. Although I tried to root this problem out for the past 3 years by telling the journalist [the Claimant] directly and also to two media companies which he is writing for, the issue still remains there. So, I'm writing this in order that the same problem is eradicated completely from now on."
"First, I will tell you in detail of how the problems leading to this accusation [or prosecution] came about."
"First of all, I'll tell you specifically what caused me to reveal this today."
"First, I will tell you in detail how the basis of this accusation came about."
"On the fateful day player Son Heung Min scored his 100th goal, the platform and correspondent that weren't there committed this act of 'fraud' by publishing this article that was so overtly riddled with lies."
"On the day of Son Heung Min scored his 100th Europe goals, a media and journalist who never was at the 'on-site' lied blatantly and an act of 'cheating' has occurred."
"Somebody who wasn't even at the site writing an article that openly states that they were there not only utterly scorns the hard work of all the reporters that did all the legwork but is also an act that cheats and deceives all the football fans that read the article."
"Then, a journalist who didn't come to the stadium publishing an article insisting they were in the stadium itself is ignoring other journalists' effort to work hard on-site and also cheating football fans who read it."
"Nonetheless, the reason I am reporting this person to all of you, and the problems I have confirmed within the past 3 years, is not just this one article. There were much more serious problems that occurred. The 'fraud' committed by correspondent (and columnist) 'B' that have occurred within the past 3 years, and that I have confirmed myself and obtained evidence and witnesses to prove, are as follows."
"The readers who read this writing until now may think what's the big deal for that 1 case.
But the reason why I reveal this in front of all people, and the problems I witnessed for the last 3 years is not only this. There were much more serious events happened during that time. Here are the acts of 'cheating' which 'B' made for the last 3 years and I witnessed by myself and I can prove by proof or witness."
"Nonetheless, the reason I am charging this person in front of all of you, and the problems I have personally confirmed within the past 3 years, is not just this one article. There were much more serious problems that occurred. The acts of 'fraud' committed by correspondent (and columnist) 'B' that have occurred within the past 3 years, that I have confirmed myself and obtained evidence and witnesses to prove, are as follows."
"- The act of writing an article with 'lies' by writing that they were on site when they were not.
- The act of stating that they were the interviewer when they in fact were not by writing their name in the title and byline of the article.
- The act of suitably modifying the interviewee's statements and introducing fabricated material in their articles.
- The act of using their journalistic qualifications to receive an invite to a certain brand event (only 2 Korean reporters were in attendance) and having their own acquaintance with unauthorised access attend the event, and having that personnel conduct an interview with an EPL star anybody would know.
- The act of falsifying that their various friends and acquaintances (business relationships, personal friends, etc.), who were not football journalists, were reporters so they had access to the press zone of the EPL coverage site.
- The act of allowing a university student with no experience of journalism (not a single article written in their name) into the 'press zone' of the EPL coverage site for 2 seasons in a row simply because they [the student] were part of a 'special group' he ran (and so, in the case of big matches, causing cases of actual Korean reporters with the ability to write articles being unable to access the press zone).
- The act of taking Son Heung Min who had just finished a game out of the mixed zone to acquaintances who were 'Elders' and forcing him to greet them (a Tottenham official even asked me "where is he taking Sonny").
- In front of other journalists and indeed in front of spectators of Tottenham's squad, you brought shirts so that Son Heung Min could sign them to give them to your personal acquaintances in the very public place, and then uploaded such acts on SNS to promote yourself as virtuous and gloat of your feat.
- The act of lying to an English football official "Player----- of the South Korean representative team is my nephew" (a report was made to the relevant football official inquiring if this was true, and after checking it was found to be untrue).
- The act of making reporters from other media companies attempting to interview players he was close to go through him first, influencing and mediating the situation from behind the scenes (eventually leading to a situation where the interview was not conducted at all, and news of this player was not relayed to their fans. He also stated that he had 'allowed' for an interview between player ----- and media company -----)."
"(i.) "The act of writing an article with 'lies' by writing that they he was onsite when he was not."
(ii.) "The act of publishing an interview column insisting he had done the interview by himself, putting his name on the title and by-line, when he didn't do the interview himself."
(iii.) "The act of making false quotes which the interviewee never said and used the quotes for his own column."
(iv.) "After getting invited for a specific brand's event, he took along with him his own acquaintance who was not invited and then permitted him to have an interview with an EPL star player who everybody knows."
(v.) "To bring his own acquaintances (business partner, personal friends) to EPL press zone lying that they are a journalist."
(vi.) "To let a university student who never worked as a journalist or had experience on media coverage (who never wrote articles), to enter EPL stadiums as a 'press' just because he's a member of his own 'special group'."
(vii.) "To bring Son Heung Min to his own acquaintance (calling them 'elders') and inviting him to greet them."
(viii.) "Getting signatures for his own acquaintance from Son Heung Min in the middle of Mixed Zone where all other journalists from the world and Tottenham press officer were watching and boasting himself on social media."
(ix.) "Lying to one of English Football industry person that ("South Korean international player OOO is his nephew."
(x.) "When other media companies are trying to have an interview with the players who are close to him, to lead the interview is arranged via him. (So, sometimes the interview itself didn't happen eventually. He even once said I 'allow' the interview between a player and a journalist.)""
i) The 4th bullet point reads: "… (only 2 Korean reporters can attend) and having their own acquaintance with unauthorised access and who was never invited attend the event …"
ii) In the 6th bullet point the word "enabling" is used in place of "allowing".
iii) The 7th bullet point reads:
"- The act of taking Son Heung Min after he'd just finished a match to his personal acquaintances that'd been waiting outside the mixed zone (calling them 'elders') to making him greet them (causing a Tottenham official to ask "Where exactly is that person taking Sonny [Son Heung Min] right now?" to me)."
iv) The 8th bullet point reads:
"The act of getting Son Heung Min to sign uniforms for his friends' personal requests in the joint coverage area where not only foreign reporters were present, but Tottenham officials could also see, to promote himself as if he was committing a virtuous act and showing himself off through these series of acts around on his SNS etc."
v) The 10th bullet point reads:
"When reporters from other media companies attempted to interview players he was close with, he made sure that these interviews had to go through him first and then adjusted the situation from behind the scenes (eventually leading to a situation where the interview could not be conducted, and news of this players could not be relayed to the fans. He also declared that he had personally 'allowed' the interview between player ------ and media platform --------)."
"Do you it is permissible that something like this has been continuously happening for the past 3 years in the sports news reporting environment of the EPL, the football league that the top players of South Korea, such as Son Heung Min and Ki Sung Yong, have been active and has the highest viewership amongst South Korean football fans?"
"Do you all think that something like this … should be allowed to continue?"
"All the issues I have raised above can all be proved to be facts with 'evidence' or 'witnesses' and are merely a 'fraction' of all that has happened. I myself have witnessed acts committed that were so shameless and opprobrious I cannot bring myself to repeat them, that if South Korean football fans were to hear of you all would find a heinous crime."
"All things above can be proven by 'proof' or 'witnesses' and it is only a small part of what has happened until now. There was much more serious incidents which everybody in South Korea will be surprised and feel angry about when they hear about it."
"All the issues I have raised above can all be proved to be facts with 'evidence' and 'witnesses' or 'eye-witnesses' and are merely a 'fraction' of all that has happened. I myself have witnessed acts committed that I simply cannot repeat s they were so conscienceless, that if South Korean football fans were to hear of they all would find it unpardonable."
"Mr. 'B', despite being somebody who carries out the work of a journalist, and even otherwise is somebody who should not 'lie', has continued to commit big and small acts to which the term 'fraud' (the core of which is a 'lie') is applicable, and now on the historical site of player Son Heung Min's 100th goal, he once again commits an act that disrespects all journalists and football fans other than himself."
"B is a someone who should never 'lie' because of his work in the press and also for another job. However, he continuously committed many acts of 'cheating' (the essence is 'lying') and now he did it again on a historical game when Son Heung Min scored his 100th goal, once again ignoring all other journalists and football fans."
"Mr 'B', being somebody who carries out the work of a journalist, and being somebody who above all people should not 'lie' even outside his profession as a journalist, has continued to commit big and small acts of 'fraud' (the core being 'lies'), and now on the historical site of player Son Heung Min's 100th goal, he once again commits an act that disrespects all journalists and football fans other than himself."
"Therefore, I no longer have reason to turn a blind eye to these acts and protect his reputation or honour."
"For the past 3 years, I tried hard to avoid the situation where these issues needed to be revealed to the public by letting you and the two media companies you work for to stop these kinds of acts. So, now I don't have any reason to protect your honour."
"For the past 3 years I have tried my best to at least prevent this issue form being recognised by the public and urged for him to refrain form committing these acts and the media platform he works for has also made various attempts to stop these actions."
"Though I could reveal their name, their place of work, and detail the much more serious actions committed that would make it easier to identify them in this post and make this a social issue, I will not do so this time. After a conversation with Mr. 'B' today about this case, for the last time, I will listen to his request."
"I can reveal your name, your main job and disclose much more serious issues and turn this matter into a social issue, but I won't do it this time. I have no reason to accept your request not to take matters further, however I'll accept your asking for the last time of what you asked me in the talk about this matter."
"Although I could reveal his name, his primary profession, and detail the much more serious actions to make him completely identifiable to make this a social issue, I will not do that this time. Although I have no reason to listen to his personal requests, I will listen to his request made in a conversation with him for the final time."
"Despite this, there were no sanctions put on Mr 'B' from the South Korean football journalism field, and so this person was able to freely continue committing these acts, building relationships with other media journalists (and athletes), gaining 'power' so that anybody pointing out his wrongdoings and set him straight is instead made to seem out of place."
"As I wrote above, I have raised this matter with B himself and his media companies a long time ago. Nevertheless, there's nobody stopping B to continue behaving this way and he has been permitted to freely continue what he was doing and creating relationships with other media relatives (also with players), building power and making a person who tried to fix these problems as someone weirdo is not a normal situation at all."
"However, regularly attending coverage sites, I soon saw Mr. 'B's fraudulent acts for myself ...
Why, despite being a journalist, was I unable to report the 'fraud' and 'corruption' that I could see happening before my eyes with a clean conscience."
"Looking back, I tried hard for 2 years from 2013 to 2015 to work in London and then heard about B's wrongdoings right after I arrived in London in September 2015. At that moment, two people (who are no longer working as journalists) told me about this hoping I can solve this problem.
I couldn't believe them in the first place.
At least he looked as a good man to me, so I thought I should judge him based on what I saw rather than what I had heard about him. But as time went on and I was working in the press area, I witnessed B's act of cheating by myself and then I spent time to solve it peacefully telling the person himself and within the media circle thinking 'it will be alright as time goes by'. However, 3 years have now passed. So, why can't I confidently disclose these acts of 'cheating' or corruption' when I'm a journalist."
Publications (1) and (2): the parties' meanings
"The term 'Fraud' means the act of committing a criminal act for one's own financial gain. The usage of this term by its literal meaning suggests that the Claimant committed a crime. By the meaning of the word itself, it lowers the Claimant's reputation as the audience of the statement would gain the perception that our client is a criminal who should not/cannot be trusted."
"In the natural and ordinary meaning, the words complained of meant and were understood to mean only that the Claimant is someone who had cheated. In any event, even if the correct translation for the word is 'fraud' (which is not accepted), it is contended that the reasonable reader, in the context of the article as a whole, would not have understood fraud to have meant a criminal act having been committed or that the Claimant was a criminal as alleged, or at all."
"The translation of the word '??' is to 'prosecute' or 'accuse'. The Defendant's statement that the Defendant would prosecute the Claimant alludes to the falsity that the Claimant has committed a criminal offence, and that the Defendant would be reporting this alleged criminal offence to the police or relevant authorities. The Defendant has shown strong vindication and certainty in his statement that the Claimant has committed a criminal act. The word therefore reinforces this misguided certainty, thereby emphasising the falsity that the Claimant has committed a criminal offence.
The phrase '?? ???'means to eradicate this problem. In this situation, the Defendant is stating that the Claimant is the source of this problem. …
…The Defendant has repeatedly suggested that the Claimant is a criminal, and due to his criminal acts, should be viewed as a problem which needs to be removed."
"The phrase 'the problems leading to this accusation [or prosecution]' suggests that the Claimant has committed a criminal act, and that the Defendant is acting justly in 'prosecuting' the Claimant. Again, the usage of the term '??' or 'prosecute' suggests that the Claimant needs to be prosecuted for committing a crime. This statement is made with the assumption that the Defendant's accusation is in fact correct. However, the audience who read such a statement will not know that you are making an unwarranted assumption and will think that the Claimant has in fact committed a criminal act. The usage of the word 'prosecution', when no criminal acts have been committed, is therefore defamatory."
"The Defendant stated that there were much more serious problems that had occurred, and that it was not simply this one article. The Defendant again stated that the Claimant had committed 'fraud', and further affirmed the Claimant to be an individual who has committed problems much more serious than the Defendant's allegations of fraud. The Defendant's continued usage of the term fraud was an effort to influence the audience into believing that the Claimant was in fact a criminal who had committed such an act. Therefore, this is defamatory to the Claimant."
"Usage of the terms ' shameless' and 'opprobrious' presents the Claimant as a reprehensible individual. The Defendant stated that he had seen our client commit heinous crimes, which is defamatory as it shows the Claimant as a reprehensible criminal."
"The Defendant stated that he would be able to reveal the Claimant's name, his place of work, and detail all the more serious acts the Claimant had committed. The Defendant is thereby stating that what the Claimant has already been accused of in the Defendant's statement is incomparable to other alleged serious acts he knows of. The Defendant is presenting our client as an individual whose acts are shameful to society. By stating that he would wield. the choice to reveal the Claimant's identity, the Defendant is reinforcing his image as rightful and just. The Defendant himself has stated that by revealing the identity the Claimant, this would become a 'social issue'. The statement is defamatory as the Defendant is presenting the Claimant as someone who deserves society's scorn."
Publications (1) and (2): decision as to meaning
An article the Claimant published on 6 December 2018, in which he dishonestly claimed to have undertaken an onsite interview with a player at Wembley stadium, when the Claimant was not there, was permeated with lies. This is only the most recent and relatively minor example of more serious unethical behaviour on his part, which has been unrelenting for three years. He has fabricated the contents of articles. He has lied to an English football official about his relationship to a South Korean player. He has corruptly and dishonestly gained admission to events, and access to the press zone, for his friends and cronies. He has abused his contacts and influence to the detriment of honest journalists and football fans, and for his own self-aggrandisement. Beneath the veneer of being a decent man, he is a shameless liar and fraudster.
Publications (3) and (4): the words complained of
(i) "Somebody accused for lying seems to have told a 'lie' again, I can only see it as a countermeasure suiting of a person with a wide array of connections thanks to having lived a long time within the UK's Korean society."
(ii) "To me, this can only be seen as a 'threat'. I understand it that you wish to hush the mouths of more sources coming forward."
(iii) "Additionally, the two companies that allowed and paid for a person riddled with lies to work as a 'journalist', putting the South Korean journalism field in disarray should keep in mind that they may be forced to take responsibility for the problems caused by this case."
"But you broke your promise (It's another 'lying' from a person who's accused of 'lying' again…), without explaining anything about my post and you just mention about a 'Court case'…"
"It was you who asked for no more posting for the sake of your own family, but now you even mentioned about my living status in UK. For me, it's only interpreted as a 'threat'. It's also be seen your attempt to stop other people to talk about this matter."
"Also, two media who gave a right to this person who's fill out of lie should know that they can also take responsibility from this."
"However, within just 3 days you broke your promise (a person was charge with lying has made another 'lie', it can be viewed as an act to buy himself some time) and without even being able to respond to my points in front of the fans you are now discussing 'legal action'. This is clearly an act from someone who has built many close relations after living for so long as a Korean in English society."
"You asked me to refrain from making further speculations for the welfare of your family yet you are mentioning my (as well as my family's) ability to reside in the UK. To me this cannot be viewed as anything other than 'blackmail'. It is also viewed as an act to silence any further informers."
Publications (3) and (4): the parties' meanings
i) The Claimant is an untrustworthy and dishonest individual who has repeatedly made false statements;
ii) The Claimant is a brute who uses force to silence people who attempt to criticise him; and
iii) The claimant is an individual, who through his dishonesty and deceit, causes chaos within the professional field of journalism and who is not fit to be a professional journalist.
Publications (3) and (4): decision as to meaning
The Claimant is an unremitting liar. Having been accused of lying, and at a loss for a response, the Claimant lied yet again. The Claimant then threatened the Defendant regarding his and his family's immigration status, pressuring him and any further informers to cease raising concerns about the Claimant's behaviour. The companies for which he works need to act because he is not fit to be a journalist.
Publications (5) and (6): the words complained of
(i) "If you truly have nothing to hide and are confident stop with the embarrassment of taking (uploading) a photo of a lawyer's business card and mentioning about my family's visa status whilst threatening me then amending it as soon as you think it could be a problem. (I already have a source. Don't do anything pointless)."
(ii) "You don't want to hear criticisms from fans (therefore have done something embarrassing), then want to resolve the issue with lawyers you have connections with. (Is not having to pay a fee really something to brag about?)"
(iii) "Now, I'll say it clear. The fact that his Instagram comments are inaccessible is, without my explanation being necessary, absolute evidence that he is without a clean conscience in front of South Korean football fans."
"I'm sorry that my writing is not in order because I'm on my way to get a plane. I'll just add one more important thing.
Priest Kim (Daum columnist and Ilgan Sports reporter), If you're really proud and innocent, instead of posting your solicitor's name card and threaten my family's living status in UK and changed the part after realising it will become a problem (There are already witnesses, don't do meaningless things), if you're that confident open your Instagram comment area.
You don't want to hear fans' criticism (which means there are shameful acts from you), and deal with this matter with solicitors you know with connection (is it a proud thing for you to say that you are not paying?)
I'll say clearly here. If you keep close your comment section, it means without my explanation, it is the proof that you're not innocent in front of South Korean football fans."
"Pastor Kim Sang Youl (Daum columnist, Ilgan sports correspondent)
If you truly have nothing to hide and are confident, stop with the embarrassment of taking (uploading) a photo of a lawyer's business card and mentioning about my family's visa status to blackmail me then amending it as soon as you think it could be a problem. (I already have a source. Don't do anything pointless.)
You don't want to hear criticisms from fans (therefore have done something embarrassing), then want to resolve the issue with lawyers who you know due to your personal connections. (Is not having to pay a fee really something to brag about?)
Now I'll say it clearly here. The fact that your Instagram comments are inaccessible is, without my explanation being necessary, absolute evidence that he is without a clean conscience in front of South Korean football fans."
Publications (5) and (6): the parties' meanings
(i) "The Defendant alleged that the Claimant had made threats against the Defendant and his family, the Defendant's family's visa status in particular. Such a statement shows the Claimant to be a threatening individual who is willing to blackmail others to avoid culpability. These continuing statements are particularly damaging due to the Claimant's role as a pastor. Stating that the Claimant has made threats against you is defamatory."
(ii) "The Defendant stated that the Claimant has something to be embarrassed about, implying he has committed wrongdoings. Further, the Defendant stated that the Claimant would resolve this issue purely with the help of solicitors who he was closely acquainted with, which is false. This shows the Claimant as an individual who will avoid his personal culpability through using relationships with those in the legal profession to prove his innocence despite in actuality being guilty of such fraudulent actions."
(iii) "The Defendant is taking the Claimant's silence to be an indication of the Claimant's guilt. The Claimant's stance was entirely different in wanting to distance himself from such negative attention. The statement that the Claimant does not have a clean conscience presents him to be guilty of the acts he was accused of by the Defendant. The Defendant is presenting the Claimant as an individual unrelenting in his refusal to admit his wrongdoings. Such a portrayal of the Claimant would lead readers to think that he lacks morals, a trait that is in direct contradiction with his profession as a pastor."
Publications (5) and (6): decision as to meaning
The Claimant knows he is guilty of reprehensible behaviour but he is seeking to avoid culpability by threatening the Defendant regarding his and his family's immigration status to pressure him to drop his accusations, by using his personal connections with lawyers, and by blocking the criticisms of football fans.
Publications (7) and (8)
J. Defamatory at Common Law
K. The Defence of Truth
"I said I'd help if something particular happened. In the event, Son Heung Min made his 100th goal, so I sent the Claimant the interview. He said he would publish his article after other news agencies had released their articles, and I recall him doing as such. I sent him the interview as it was not an exclusive interview, or an act made with personal gain in mind. I would never think that this could be wrongdoing, otherwise, I would never do it for the Claimant. It has never crossed my mind that this could be a serious issue to be raised."
L. Serious harm
i) The gravity of the defamatory statements.
ii) The publication of the defamatory statements on internet sites where they were widely viewed and shared, reaching the Claimant's friends, family, congregation and community in this jurisdiction.
iii) The impact of the defamatory statements is more damaging because of the Claimant's roles in society. It is very damaging for a journalist to be accused of fabricating articles, lying and corruption in the way the Claimant was accused in the defamatory statements. It is yet more devastating for a church pastor to be accused in such terms. I accept the Claimant's evidence as to the impact of the defamatory statements on his mental health, causing him to become reclusive, and the effect on him of seeing his family suffer.
iv) The defamatory statements purported to be from someone who was in a position to know the truth and whose statements were based on knowledge of even worse behaviour by the Claimant than he was divulging.
v) It is important to ensure that the award compensates the Claimant only for the damage caused by the publications that are complained of in the action, that is the publications in this jurisdiction. Vindication is only relevant in so far as it is required to clear the Claimant's name in the eyes of readers in this jurisdiction, not in South Korea or elsewhere.
vi) The Defendant has behaved in a way which has led the Claimant reasonably to believe that the Defendant acted maliciously, increasing the injury to his feelings. The Claimant's belief that the Defendant was motivated by malice was supported by the independent evidence of Ms Hur and Mr Gun Lee that they believed the defamatory statements were made with malicious intent.
vii) Any award needs to be no more than is justified by the legitimate aim of protecting reputation, necessary in a democratic society in pursuit of that aim and proportionate to that need.
i) The meanings of publications (1) and (2), (3) and (4), and (5) and (6) are, respectively, as stated in §§117, 124 and 131 above.
ii) Each of the meanings is defamatory (in accordance with common law and pursuant to s.1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013).
iii) The Defendant has failed to establish any defence.
iv) The Claimant is entitled to an injunction preventing the Defendant from further publishing the statements complained of or any similar statement defamatory of the Claimant.
v) The Claimant is entitled to general damages of £44,000 (including £4,000 aggravated damages), special damages of £30,850 and interest on the award of special damages.