Packham’s libel win... but HE faces legal bill
‘He sued the wrong firm’
SPRINGWATCH star Chris Packham yesterday won £ 30,000 damages from a YouTube channel – but may not see a penny because he sued the wrong company.
The BBC naturalist took legal action against Fieldsports Channel, a hunting news outlet which attracts more than a million viewers a month, after it falsely claimed he had forged a death threat against himself.
But his lawsuit targeted the channel’s tiny holding company, which has no money or bank account, rather than its parent firm which makes £400,000 a year from advertising.
It means Packham, 62, could walk away with nothing except a huge legal bill, estimated to be £150,000. It adds to the nearly £1million the broadcaster is believed to have spent this year bringing legal claims against other rivals who immediately declared bankruptcy, leaving him to pay the costs.
In 2019, the prominent environmentalist shared a letter he had received at home which threatened to kill him in a car crash or through poisoning.
It said: ‘We know where you live Packham and we will get you some way or another... we want you dead. We can wait our time... as long as you f****** die that’s all that matters.’
Fieldsports Channel later said it had analysed the handwriting and found it was similar to Packham’s, claiming he had written the letter himself to get publicity. However, the handwriting expert it used was later ‘comprehensively discredited’.
Packham launched a libel claim against Fieldsports Channel Ltd – a small holding company with no assets. The channel’s main firm, Fieldsports Television Ltd, is highly profitable. Fieldsports Channel yesterday said ‘a basic bit of Googling’ would have revealed he was suing the wrong company.
Packham conceded his legal battles have cost a lot, but insisted he could not put a price on his reputation.
‘Yes, there’s a financial cost,’ he said. ‘But for me, it’s not all about money. It’s about making a difference.
‘This planet faces significant problems. I’m 62 years old, I’ve got a limited amount of time to try and stop the declines.
‘I can’t do that from a damaged platform where people are wantonly calling me a liar when I’m not. Justice has been done.’
Despite losing the case, Fieldsports founder and presenter Charlie Jacoby said: ‘Imagine our delight when we spotted that Chris was suing the wrong company. He got justice at a tremendous cost.’