Daily Mail To Pay British Psychic Sally Morgan $190k In Libel Damages After Accusing Her Of Being A Scam
The psychic accused by the Daily Mail has been awarded $190,650 in libel damages after they wrongfully accused her of wearing a hidden earpiece and using it to deceive a theater audience.
Sally Morgan, who goes by the name “Psychic Sally” when on stage and on television, protested that the September 2011 article in the paper falsely accused her of “deliberately and dishonestly” tricking the live crowd during her show in Dublin.
The writer of the article, magician Paul Zenon, declared that during her live performance, Morgan wore a hidden earpiece so that she can receive information and relay it to the stage, acting as if they were messages she received from the spirit world.
Morgan’s attorney, Graham Atkins said in a statement on Thursday at the high court that Zenon’s article had brought upon “enormous distress” to her.
“The allegation contained in the article that Mrs. Morgan cheated the audience in Dublin is completely false and defamatory of her,” Atkins told the judge.
“It also caused enormous distress to Mrs. Morgan, who decided, given the newspaper’s initial defense of the article, that she had no choice but to commence legal proceedings against the publisher of the Daily Mail,” he added.
The attorney representing the Daily Mail, Brid Jordan, accepted that the claim made against her was untrue and apologized wholeheartedly for the publication of the article.
Speaking to the court, Atkins stated that the defamatory article surfaced in the Daily Mail “in the context of a general attack on psychics as being charlatans”.
The false earpiece claim materialized when a couple of women called in to an Irish call-in radio show and stated that they were at the show and thought they heard two crew members telling Morgan something which she then repeated to the audience.
After Morgan learned about the accusations, she made a statement in which she called the claim “nonsense”. The theater where she performed made a separate statement denying that Morgan had worked with crewmembers to scam the audience.
It was later discovered that the crewmembers that were thought to be helping Morgan deceive her audience were actually subcontracted by the venue and did not work for Morgan in any way, shape, or form.
Psychic Sally’s claim to fame was the ITV2 television series she appeared in called “Sally Morgan: Star Psychic” back in 2007. Following that show she went on to front several shows, including a documentary by Sky Living called “Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation”, as well as a television series called “Psychic Sally On The Road”.
After Morgan was awarded the settlement for the damages she endured, legal experts agreed that even though $190,650 is a “very substantial” amount, the wrongful claim could have been incredibly damaging to Morgan’s career. A partner at the law firm Hill Dickinson named Richard Green stated, “The settlement reflects the fact that Morgan’s reputation is valuable as her livelihood was at stake.”
He went on to compare Morgan’s payout to a libel payout given to Frankie Boyle, a comedian who was awarded $83,352 in damages in October of 2012 because of an article written by the Daily Mirror in which they accused him of being racist. Green said, “On the face of it this award looks significantly less than Mrs. Morgan’s but I would suggest this is because the defamatory comment did not go to the heart of his career or profession in the same way. It could also be argued that Mr. Boyle has a reputation for pushing boundaries in his comedy routines and so this may have been reflect in the level of damages awarded.”
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