Low award in line with long tradition: Juries have shown a tendency in the past to give compensation considered to be derisory. Marianne Macdonald reports

THE SUM of pounds 69 awarded to David Wraith is in the tradition of derisory damages that juries with a sense of proportion and humour have awarded in famous cases.

In May 1990, Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France's right-wing National Front, was ordered to pay just one franc (10p) for having described the Nazi gas chambers as a 'detail' of history in a 1987 radio interview. He was sued by groups representing concentration camp victims and their families, who had hoped for damages of 900,000 francs.

Another case which did not shower glory on its protagonists ended in January 1990 when Andrew Neil, editor of the Sunday Times, was awarded pounds 1,000 damages against the rival Sunday Telegraph and its former editor, Peregrine Worsthorne, in the Pamela Bordes libel case. Times Newspapers was awarded just 60p. Mr Neil and Times Newspapers had claimed that two articles and a cartoon in the Sunday Telegraph in March 1989 implied he was unfit to edit a quality newspaper, and that he had known Miss Bordes was a prostitute when he had four- month affair with her.

Damages of one franc were also awarded in 1989 to the artist Ian Hamilton Finlay. He had sued two magazines and a radio station, in addition to the Canadian sculptor Jonathan Hirschfeld, for defamation following a smear campaign by some of the Paris arts intelligentsia suggesting he was anti-Semite with Nazi sympathies. Finlay did better than the artist James Whistler, who was awarded one farthing (one- quarter of one old penny) when he sued the art critic, John Ruskin, for describing his Grosvenor Gallery exhibits of 1877 as 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face'.

Last year, Sir Rupert Mackeson, a Swindon bookseller and Old Harrovian, took a firm of solicitors to court for casting aspersions on his good name; he was awarded one penny.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk