Sir James Dyson faces wait for decision in libel claim against Mirror

The inventor, 76, gave evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice over two days.

Jess Glass
Thursday 23 November 2023 17:11 GMT
Sir James Dyson arriving at the Royal Courts Of Justice (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Sir James Dyson arriving at the Royal Courts Of Justice (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Sir James Dyson now faces a wait to find out whether he has been successful in his libel claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror.

The inventor, 76, gave evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice over two days in a trial against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over an article published in January 2022.

In the Daily Mirror article, journalist Brian Reade referred to the engineer as “the vacuum-cleaner tycoon who championed Vote Leave due to the economic opportunities it would bring to British industry before moving his global head office to Singapore”.

He continued: “Kids, talk the talk but then screw your country and if anyone complains, tell them to suck it up.”

Sir James subsequently brought a claim against MGN for libel, describing the allegations in the article as a “vicious and vitriolic” personal attack.

MGN is defending the claim, including based on honest opinion.

At the end of the trial on Thursday, Mr Justice Jay said he was going to give a decision in writing at a later date, suggesting the ruling may come before Christmas.

“I am going to think carefully about it,” he said.

On Tuesday, Justin Rushbrooke KC, for Sir James, said in written submissions that the articles, both in print and online, “constituted a serious and unjustified slur on Sir James’s reputation, business and personal”.

He added that an “honest opinion is supposed to give latitude but it is not a licence for a journalist to mislead the reader”.

Mr Rushbrooke also pointed out that the word “screwed” could be seen as meaning “underhand and discreditable”.

In his written evidence for the case, Sir James said the allegations “represent a personal attack on all that I have done and achieved in my lifetime and are highly distressing and hurtful”.

He continued: “Most importantly, they undermine all the work I have done trying to help young people with an interest in engineering to gain the necessary training as well as practical experience and employment opportunities in this field.”

However, Adrienne Page KC, for MGN, said the words in the article were “substantially correct” and that Sir James could not dictate how the commentator posed them.

She added that the article “is pitched to a lay audience, against a notorious background to 2019 and he is doing it pithily”.

On how the reference to having “screwed the country” could be viewed, the court heard that this may not necessarily be limited to the potential impact on the Dyson corporation.

After reading parts of Sir James’ evidence to the court, Ms Page suggested it was “a huge exaggeration” and that Mr Reade’s article was an expression of his opinion.

Sir James denied any exaggeration, adding: “It is not the opinion of an honest man.”

In a statement, a Dyson spokesman said Sir James had brought the legal claim “as a last resort”, adding that the allegations in the article “were vicious, vitriolic and attacked his personal character in the very worst way”.

But an MGN spokesperson said: “The Mirror will vigorously defend the honest opinions of our columnists which we consider in this case to be essentially indisputable.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in