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THE ACTION FOR LIBEL BY SIR…

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THE ACTION FOR LIBEL BY SIR E. J. nEED. M.P., AGAINST THE WESTERN MAIL In the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice on Monday the case of "Sir Edward James Reed, M.P., against Daniel Owen and Co. (Limited) and Mr. Henry Lascelles Carr" was brought before Mr. Haran Pollock. The defendants were sued for damages fixed at £2,000 for having u falsely and maliciously printed and published "a libel on the plaintiff in the Western Mail on February 9, 1886, in an article headed Who's the liar now ?" The defendants' pleaded that the article was published with reference to matters of public interest and concern, and with- out malice, and that it was a fair and bona fide comment on the conduct of the plaintiff as member of Parliament for the borough of Cardiff. Sir Charles Russell, Q.C., M.P., and Mr. Wedder- burn (instructed by Messrs. Lewis and Lewis, London) were counsel for the plaintiff, whilst the Solicitor-General (Sir Edward Clarke, Q.C., M.P.) and Mr. A. T. Lawrence (instructed by Messrs. Williamson, Hill, and Co., Sherborne-lane, E.C., agents for Messrs. Morgan and Scott, Cardiff) re- presented the defendants. The court was crowded. Sir Edward Reed sat at the solicitors' table, immediately in front of his counsel, Mr. Lascelles Carr, the editor of the Western Mail, nnd a number of friends occupying a. corresponding position near the Solicitor- General. Before the jury were sworn, The Solicitor-General said My lord, in this case of Sir E. J. Reed v. D. Owen and Company your lordship will have noticed from the pleadings what is the character of this action. It is an action in which Sir Edward Reed complains of a. libel which was contained in the Western Mail. My lord, some time ago, in the month of Juno laet, a paragraph was inserted in the Western Mail which was intended to be, and which was hoped would be, an. apology and retraction satisfactory to Sir Edward Reed, and in that paragraph a statement was made that when the trial came on the counsel for the Western Mail would be instructed in court to repeat the retraction and apology then made. It was thought that would properly end the litigation. I will say no more with regard to that. Now, my learned friend (Sir Charles RusseU),on the part of SirE. Reed, and I— discretion having been given me by my clients, who are the proprietors of the Western Mail— have come to a conclusion with regard to tha case which will prevent the necessity of your lordship giving an opinion upon it. I desire to say, on the part of the proprietors of the Western Mail, that they regret that the expressions which were put into the paper some months ago were not thought satisfactory; and they desire, through me, to say, as they said then, they had been led into making an imputation upon Sir E. Reed which they felt, upon reflection,was quite unwarranted. They desire, in tha fullest and handsomest manner, to with- draw that imputation in all its parte and in all its bearings, and they are content that your lord- ship should givo judgment in this matter for the plaintiff for 40s" with cost9. Sir Charles Russell: My lord, I have nothing to add, or hardly anything to add, to what my learned friend the Solicitor-General has said. He has very handsomely retracted and apologised, speaking in the presence of and for his clients. [ will only say that although a retraction of a kind, which I need not here refer to, was inserted, as my learned friend has said, it was not considered quite as ample as it ought to be, and, moreover. Sir Edward Reed thought that, the imputation having been publicly made, he was bound to bring it before a public court to show his sense of the libel which had been published against him. I am glad that my learned friend, Sir Edwafd Clarke, has seen fit, with the concurrence of his clients, to take the course he has done, and we have, therefore, to ask your lordship to direct judgment to be given for the plaintiff for 40s., with costs. His Lordship: Be it so. A more satisfactory ending to a case of this kind could not have been anticipated. There will be judgment for the plaintiff for 40s. wit:) costs. In an evening paper published in Cardiff, and recognised as the organ of Sir Edward Reed, the plaintiff in the above case, the special reporter" of that veracious print says:— I have just seen several of the parties interested in the Reed v. Mail libel case. The judgment carries untaxed costs, and thus Sir Edward Reed is relieved of all expenditure in the suit. The pro- prietors of the Mail will have to pay the whole of his solicitors' and barristers' charges, which, con- sidering the high fees always received by one of the eminent counsel, will amount to no small sum. Sir Edward Reed, with whom I have had some conversation, appears quite satisfied, he having brought the defendants abjectly to their knees, and fully vindicated his own position and character. We can only say with regard to this statement that, so far as the question of costs is concerned, it is not in accordance with the tact. The defen- dants have not agreed to pay the untaxed costs of Sir Edward Reed, although they hitve consented to pay the fees of Sir Charles Russell, which are some eighteen guineas more than would be allowed on taxation. As to the satisfaction said to have been expressed by Sir Edward Ileed in "having brought the defendants abjectiy to their knees," all we can say is that—supposing the words are Sir Edward's own and not those of An imaginative, or, possibly, vindictive reporter— the spirit thus manifested "nd the terms in which it is expressed are characterised neither by magnanimity nor high-mindedness; In order that the public may see that we have done no more now than we voluntarily offered to do many months ago, we here re-produce the apology and retraction then published by us, and to which we have not a single word to add, nnd from which neither we nor Sir Edward Clarke have withdrawn one single syllable :— (From the" Western lJIail," June 17,1886.) On the 9th of Febr6ary last an article appeared in the Western Mail entitled" Who's the Liar Now ?" attributing to Sir R. J. Reed falsehood in having contradicied a report published in these columns, to the effect that he had accepted a "permanent" official appointment at Mr. Glad- stone's hands. As a matter of fact, Sir Edward Reed had accepted a Ministerial office at the time he stated of our report:—"There is not the slightest truth in any rumour as to my retire- ment." Believing that this contradiction was evdsive and purposely misleading, and stung into justifiable anger by Sir Edward Heed having three months previously styled this paper the "lying Mail" we made use of language in attributing deliberate untruth to Sir Edward which we have since satisfied ourselves was unwarrantable, and we hereby unreservedly withdraw the imputation of falsehood made by us against Sir Edward Reed in connection with his appointment as a Junior Lord of the Treasury, and apologise for it. We may further say that if Sir Edward Reed had given us any opportunity of retrac- tion and apology before commencing legal process we should, at an earlier date, have taken the course we now adopt. In defending the action which he has brought, against us, wo have not sought to justify the imputation of falsehood made against him and our counsel will be instructed to offer, in open court, the same withdrawal and apologv which we now tender. In view of the impending dissolution of Parliament, and tha fact thllt it will be our duty to oppose Sir Edward's re-election for Cardiff by every means in our power, we feel that we should not be doing justice to Sir Edward Reed nor to ourselves by delaying this explanation until the public hearing of Sir Kd ward's action, an action which commenced in February last, is still pending, and, so far as we can ascertain, will not be reached for several months. In conclusion, we would add that Sir Edward Reed's satisfaction at the result of the action against the Western Mail for £2,000 damages is certainly neither more genuine nor more complete than our own.

ALLEGED HORRIBLE CRUELTY AT…

.---DISASTROUS GAS EXPLOSION…

SHOCKING DEATH OF ABRIDEGROOM.

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THE TITHE AGITATION.

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