Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Church wins proposal claim payout

MGN apologised after claiming Charlotte Church had proposed to her boyfriend during a boozy night out

Charlotte Church has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over a claim that she proposed to boyfriend Jonathan Powell during a boozy pub karaoke night.

The 26-year-old singer and mother-of-two was not at London's High Court for the settlement of her action against MGN Limited.

Solicitor Mike Brookes told Mr Justice Tugendhat that she brought the claim because the defamatory allegation that she made a drunken spectacle of herself whilst making a marriage proposal hurt her and caused her distress and embarrassment with her friends and family - not least Mr Powell.

MGN apologised for the story in The People in November, which it accepted was completely untrue and should not have been published, and also agreed to pay Miss Church's reasonable legal fees.

Mr Brookes said the "exclusive" claimed that Miss Church and Mr Powell "celebrated into the early hours" at the Robin Hood pub in Cardiff with a bottle of champagne each, and she had to be helped to the taxi by a number of friends.

It included what were said to be quotes from one of the anonymous "friends" and also comments attributed to both Miss Church and Mr Powell.

"The truth of the matter is that Charlotte and Jonathan were not even in the pub in question that night. They were, in fact, performing at a gig elsewhere.

"For the avoidance of doubt, Charlotte was not publicly - or otherwise - drunk at the event, did not require any help into her car, did not order a bottle of champagne each for herself and Jonathan, and did not propose to him."

Solicitor Harry Kinmonth, for MGN, said it apologised for the hurt and damage she had suffered because of the story, which it accepted was incorrect after Miss Church first complained.

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