By VeloNews Interactive
Great Britain’s Court of Appeal has dealt a setback to Lance Armstrong’s ongoing suit against London’s Sunday Times newspaper over the publication of a story suggesting the American has used performance-enhancing drugs.
In overturning a lower court decision, a three-judge appeals panel ruled Friday that the paper was entitled to argue that it was obligated to publish a story that triggered Armstrong’s suit. In a story publish in June of 2004, the paper outlined allegations against Armstrong that he had used a variety of doping products, both before and after his 1996 cancer diagnosis.
The ruling reverses a lower court decision barring the use of that and other lines of defense in a suit triggered by the publication of story based on allegations outlined in a book written by Times reporter David Walsh.The book, co-authored by former l’Equipe reporter Pierre Ballister, has only been published in France and rode high on that country’s best-seller list in the summer of 2004.
Following initial publication of “LA Confidential,” a Paris court denied Armstrong’s request that copies include a rebuttal provided by the rider. The court ruled that the authors had given Armstrong ample opportunity to respond to the allegations in the book, but he had declined.
In London on Friday, Lord Justice Henry Brooke noted that it was a simple question of “fairness” that the paper be allowed to present the defense that it was obligated to publish the article when the suit is heard in front of a court.
The court has scheduled the case to go to trial in November.