Eubank to go the distance with News Group Newspapers21st February 2013
Eubank, who won the World Middleweight title in 1990, believes that stories printed by the News of the World obtained by phone hacking “were fabricated to destabilise [his] marriage” and cost him “seven years of parenting”.
He is turning down a “derisory” offer of £20,000 in damages from News International and hopes to have his case heard in America.
The former boxer called upon two law students in attendance at the talk to “guide” him as he pursues further legal action.
Eubank provided the pair with 28 pages of correspondence between himself and his solicitors, seen by The Oxford Student, and said: “You can direct me, you can tell me what to do and what not to do. You’re going to read these papers, you’re going to read the advice.”
He added: “This is Oxford University, one of the three most prestigious universities in the world. If Oxford University gets behind me, this, what you saw today, you can call it a snowball, by the time it gets to the bottom it can be a giant.”
Oxford Union Librarian Chris Starkey, who hosted the event, said: “Mr Eubank chose to use his speech at the Union to address his personal problems with News International and the Leveson enquiry.
“He enjoyed discussing the subject with a number of students afterwards, and we hope he found the experience fulfilling. Speakers are free, as our guests, to discuss any topic that is important to them. It’s nice when the talks are interactive in this way.”
Eubank was one of over 200 alleged victims of phone hacking to file a claim against News International, News Group Newspapers’ parent company, but instructed his solicitor to reject the offer of £20,000 and legal costs and submit a counteroffer of £10m.
In a letter to his solicitor explaining his decision, Eubank wrote: “If you ask [ex-wife] Karron today in detail why she divorced me, she will tell you that the stories written about me put her under immense stress, and this ultimately broke our marriage.
“The fact that her phone was hacked along with mine to cause mischief between us by the News of the World was clearly done for one reason only, to cause her distress to make the rupture happen.”
He continued: “It’s for this reason why it is not about money. It is about being able to hold my head up to [my son] Joseph and look him in the eye when I am asked to justify why I became an absent father.
“If I accept the money, this will only serve to make my explanation to my family silent and certainly empty. This I cannot do.”
Eubank believes that the stories were printed in response to his opposition to the Iraq War in 2003. He explained: “I was arrested on four separate occasions and jailed each time I appealed against the war in my truck outside the Prime Minister’s head quarters.
“I was innocent and pure and thought this was the right thing to do […] In hindsight, the powers that were had no choice but to try and discredit me, to make my appeals (protests) less plausible, as I had acquired a deep rooted respect from the people because of my boxing career.
“The way this was accomplished by the powers that were is by first breaking my home and family structure. Honey traps and stories […] were fabricated to de-stabilise my marriage, perpetrated by the News of the World, who worked as the tool to condition the minds of the public towards me, as they worked hand in hand with the then administration.”
Earlier this month Eubank was advised by his solicitor to accept the offer of £20,000 due to a lack of evidence to pursue the case further. Eubank was told: “Whilst you be may be absolutely correct that the ‘honey trap’ was setup following the hacking of your phone to determine your location, there is simply no call data to support this assertion.”
Eubank believes that News International “destroyed all my evidence” and will represent himself, claiming that he has parted company with his solicitor. He now intends to have his case heard in America.
“Rupert Murdoch is a shareholder [of News Corporation, parent company of News International] and he lives in America,” Eubank explained. “In this country there is no such thing as punitive damages, in America there is.”
He continued: “I don’t have anything in my name. After having gone bankrupt I took the correct advice and now I have nothing in my name. That’s the main thing, litigant in person means there isn’t any bill.”
In a letter to Eubank, his solicitor wrote: “I have advised you that your only option in order to bring a claim in the USA would be to find a firm of solicitors in the USA who will operate the case under a conditional fee agreement.
“I confirmed yesterday [5th February] that if we can find a firm willing to take the case on that basis, then of course, we would consider working with them in the background under a conditional fee agreement.”
On Tuesday 19th February Eubank told The Oxford Student he had spoken with the clerk of Mr Justice Vos and was awaiting a date for proceedings to continue.
News International declined to comment.