Entertainment & Arts

Michael Jackson's ex-bodyguard drops TV libel action

Tito Jackson
Image caption Tito Jackson, Michael's older brother, appeared in the documentary

Michael Jackson's former bodyguard has dropped his High Court libel action against Channel 4 over its 2008 documentary, The Jacksons Are Coming.

The documentary followed members of Jackson's family, including brother Tito, as they planned to move to Devon.

Martial arts expert Matthew Fiddes claimed the show fabricated footage and made false statements about him.

Reading from an agreed statement, Fiddes' lawyer said he now acknowledged "that the programme was not faked".

'Faked'

Adrienne Page QC said: "The claimant has today discontinued his claim for libel that he brought in relation to the programme."

The situation was described as an "amicable settlement" and both sides will bear their own costs.

Mr Fiddes, of Swindon, was not in court because he had been caught in traffic.

Miss Page said that Channel 4, production company Studio Lambert and journalist Jane Preston accepted Mr Fiddes' denial - which was broadcast in the programme - that he had provided stories to the press for money.

They had denied libel, pleading justification and fair comment when the action was originally brought.

Mr Fiddes, who acted as a local guide during filming, has also withdrawn his allegations of malice against Studio Lambert and Ms Preston.

Outside court Julian Bellamy, head of Channel 4, said he was "completely delighted" by the outcome, and described the case as "obviously flawed from the outset.".

He emphasised that the company was not paying Mr Fiddes any damages or legal costs - which are estimated at £1.3m - nor was it issuing an apology.

He added that Channel 4 was not pursuing Mr Fiddes for its own costs of £1.7m.

Mr Fiddes said: "The litigation has been a strain and I can now return to normal life. My prime concern is to care for my mother who has terminal cancer."

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