The Sunday Times has said it is considering appealing today's award of £145,000 libel damages to a documentary filmmaker, Sean McPhilemy. He sued the newspaper over an article claiming that a programme he made about a Loyalist conspiracy to murder Catholics in Northern Ireland was a hoax. A High Court jury in London ruled that the newspaper failed to prove that a high-level murder committee, as featured in the programme, did not exist.
The 1991 Channel 4 Dispatches programme, caused a sensation by claiming that a committee, which included well-known local businessmen, politicians, lawyers and policemen, met regularly with loyalist paramilitary chiefs to plan the assassination of Irish republicans with the collusion of an RUC inner force. It was immediately condemned, as unbelievable, by police chiefs and Unionist leaders, including the UUP leader David Trimble.