Libel: Irksome Quirk

Douglas Gordon Goody was convicted in 1964 of taking part in The Great Train Robbery and was sentenced to 30 years. So no one gave it a second thought when an article in a Sunday newspaper called The People mentioned that Goody had been involved in the robbery. No one, that is, except Goody. He claimed that he had been libeled.

On the face of it, Goody's claim seemed absurd. But not in quirky old England. There, as in some American jurisdictions, a criminal conviction does not constitute proof of guilt in a...

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