Frankie Boyle wins more than £50,000 libel damages from Daily MirrorJury decides comedian was libelled by claims he is a 'racist' and that he was 'forced to quit' BBC show Mock the Week
The comedian Frankie Boyle has been awarded £54,650 in damages after a high court jury found he had been libelled by the Daily Mirror.
Boyle won £50,400 after the jury's verdict on an article that described him as a "racist comedian". Jurors awarded the comedian a further £4,250 over the claim in the article that he was "forced to quit" the BBC2 show Mock the Week.
The publisher of the Daily Mirror, Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), must also pay an undisclosed amount of costs.
During the five-day trial before Mr Justice Eady, jurors were shown a string of Boyle's jokes from Mock the Week and his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights. The Scottish comedian told jurors he used racial language in jokes to ostracise other people's racist attitudes and make a point about society.
Several witnesses, including Boyle's manager and the former production editor of Mock the Week, appeared as witnesses in the case in support of the comedian.
The jury took just under three hours to find in Boyle's favour.
Boyle said on Twitter: "I'm very happy with the jury's decision and their unanimous rejection of the Mirror's allegation that I am a racist. Racism is still a very serious problem in society which is why I've made a point of always being anti-racist in my life and work and that's why I brought this action."
Boyle spent hours in the witness box to explain the frequent use of racial references in his sketches. He denied accusations of using offensive words "gratuitously", telling jurors at one point: "There is no way they are an endorsement of racist terminology. It is the absolute opposite of that. If I dressed up as Godzilla, people would not accuse me of wanting to crush Tokyo myself."
David Sherborne, for Boyle, said it would be "political correctness gone mad" if the comedian was labelled as racist for using racial language in his jokes.
MGN argued the "racist comedian" description in its article, published on 19 July 2011, was either true or honest comment. A barrister representing MGN said if jurors thought that Boyle had been libelled they should show their "contempt" by awarding damages of 45p – the price of a copy of the Daily Mirror.
Boyle said he would donate the damages money to charity.
The trial was one of the only libel cases to be heard before a jury in the past decade. Lawyers have increasingly opted for judge-only trials because of financial and time restrictions.