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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sharon Stone wins

libel payout from British daily

Hollywood star Sharon Stone has accepted an apology and 'substantial' undisclosed libel damages at London's High Court on Thursday from a British daily newspaper over a claim she left her son in a car while dining in a restaurant.

London, England
In an article last June, the newspaper claimed Stone had left her 4-year-old son Roan alseep in a car with her chauffeur for more than two hours outside The Ivy restaurant - a celebrity hangout in central London - while she enjoyed a late night dinner date with a "mystery male companion".

The 48-year-old "Basic Instinct" star wasn't present on Thursday for the pre-trial settlement with the Daily Mail, which first published the defamatory allegations last June.

Stone's solicitor Rupert Grey said the article contained a number of remarks critical of her, that "the article conveyed the clear allegation that Sharon Stone had neglected her son in a shameful and selfish way" by leaving him uncomfortable in the heat and traumatized by paparazzi flash photography.

Grey said Stone was appalled by the allegation, followed-up in other newspapers in Britain and worldwide.

Neither was there a shred of truth in the allegation that Stone was dining with a "mystery male companion": Sharon Stone and son had dinner together inside the restaurant the day before Roan flew back to the United States. The Daily Mail followed-up with another article the following month "Sharon's dinner date and this time her baby goes too", reminding readers of her alleged behaviour three weeks before, and illustrated with a photograph of her carrying her younger, two-month-old son outside a restaurant.
Grey said Stone could produce witnesses to confirm that her son had dined with her at the restaurant.

Kirsty Howarth, solicitor for the owners of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers, said it published the articles in good faith on the basis of information which it had been provided with and which at the time it had no reason to doubt. The newspaper accepted the allegation was untrue, withdrew it unreservedly and apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused.
The allegations in the article were repeated in a later article by the newspaper and echoed by other media in the UK and worldwide.

Stone's lawyer, Rupert Grey, said the 48-year-old actress had agreed to accept an undisclosed sum in damages which she proposed to give to charity. He added that the actress was content to "accept this, together with her costs, in view of the apology which the newspaper was to provide in open court".




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