FREDDIE STARR LOSES COMPENSATION etc. CASE 10/07/15
Freddie Starr loses groping defamation case
Mr Starr, 72, of Studley, Warwickshire, denied the claims and sought damages for alleged slander and libel.
Judge Mr Justice Nicol said the case failed because Ms Ward's testimony was found to be true, and because too much time had lapsed.
The entertainer says he has lost £300,000 from shows being cancelled over the allegations.
He sued over interviews given to the BBC and ITV in October 2012, statements on a website and those made in an eBook about Ms Ward's life.
Mr Starr is now reportedly facing a £1m bill in costs.
A previous criminal investigation into Ms Ward's claims by the Crown Prosecution Service decided no charges would be brought.
'Wrecked marriages'Mother-of-seven Ms Ward - a pupil at Duncroft Approved School, in Staines, Surrey, in March 1974 - told the court Mr Starr had also made a lewd comment about her chest.
"I carried that phrase with me all my life and it certainly helped to wreck three marriages," she said.
She also said she was sexually abused by Savile more than once in return for going to BBC Television Centre in London and being in the Clunk Click audience.
She said she had been given lithium while at her school, which had affected her memory, but that she "very vividly" remembered that Mr Starr smelled of alcohol and cologne.
She also said Mr Starr "behaved in the same way that every red-blooded male behaved in 1974 when it was perfectly acceptable" and because of this acceptance, she had not complained.
"It was known back then as a 'goose', when a man would put his hand under a girl's buttocks and give it a squeeze and usually say 'goose' and, at the same time, reach for her breasts and say 'honk, honk'," she told the court.
"He got as far as the 'goose' and I recoiled because, while I expected that kind of behaviour from all men and was used to it, I was distressed because the smell reminded me of my stepfather."
'Come forward'Ms Ward told the judge, who heard the case without a jury, that she was "not prepared to apologise to the claimant or retract what I have said, because I have told the truth about him".
Speaking after the ruling, she said she was "relieved" at the outcome.
"For anyone who hasn't yet dared to come forward, I say - do not take this case as a reason not to do so. Stand tall, it wasn't your fault, and you have a right to be heard without fear or threat of not being believed.
"You may have had no voice and no choice when you were younger, but now you do. Don't give in to bullies."
During the hearing Mr Starr had rejected the allegation that he had groped the teenager in Savile's dressing-room, saying his "moral compass" would not allow him to perform such an act.
He also said he had never groped anyone and denied having "wandering hands".
In his ruling, Mr Nicol said that the claim in slander based on Ms Ward's interview to the BBC failed because it was brought outside the legal time limit.
The claim in libel was based on the broadcast of a clip from a BBC interview in Panorama and Ms Ward was not liable for the composite broadcast, it was ruled.
'True' wordsThe interview with ITV, which had given rise to a slander claim, failed because Ms Ward had proved that it was true that Mr Starr groped and humiliated her, the judge said.
"His behaviour and smell also frightened her because it reminded her of her stepfather who had sexually abused her as a child. Because her words were true, this claim fails," Mr Nicol said.
And the claim over the eBook related to allegations which Ms Ward had proved were true, the judge also ruled.
Ms Ward's solicitor, Helen Morris, said in a statement after the ruling that the allegation about Mr Starr was made during two interviews Ms Ward gave about the sexual abuse at the hands of Jimmy Savile.
She added: "I have never come across a case where a source has been abandoned by a publisher or broadcaster to defend a libel claim on their own.
"It is particularly egregious for the BBC and ITV/ITN to have done so when Karin Ward put her head above the parapet to speak out about Savile.
"Without sources like Karin there is no investigative journalism. On any view, Karin has been treated disgracefully by our national broadcasters, who continue to refuse to fully indemnify her."
She also said journalists from the Newsnight and Exposure television programmes had given evidence, in which they said Ms Ward had performed a public service by being the first victim of Savile to speak out and that her actions had resulted in 500 victims of Savile coming forward.
The police undertook a full investigation into the allegation made by Ms Ward and a further 13 additional complainants who also put forward allegations against Mr Starr.