Ben Stokes, mother Deborah receives damages from The Sun after legal action after 2019 front-page story – Star England and Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes and his mother Deborah Stokes have been paid substantial damages by The Sun after the tabloid put details of a tragedy suffered by the family on its front page. The British tabloid was sued by Deborah after it carried the headline “tragedy that haunts Stokes’ family” in September 2019, to avoid any other families facing the same treatment.
As per The Guardian, The Sun apologised to the pair, agreed to pay their legal costs and issued a public statement saying the story. In a statement, the tabloid claimed that the “story should have never been published” about an incident that took place before the cricketer was born.
🚨 APOLOGY 🚨 @TheSun has quietly slipped out this apology for its awful story about Ben Stokes in September 2019.
Make sure it’s spread far and wide. pic.twitter.com/UIiewy38qu
— The Sun Apologies (@SunApology) August 30, 2021
It remains unclear why The Sun decided to settle the case after two years rather than take it to court. The newspaper originally argued that a privacy claim was unjustified because the article was based on archive news reports that were widely published in the New Zealand media in the 1980s and remained in the public domain, albeit not easily available online. As per The Guardian, one Sun journalist said the article had been published under the previous editor Tony Gallagher, who has since been replaced by Victoria Newton.
The Sun’s statement read: “On 17 September 2019 we published a story titled ‘Tragedy that Haunts Stokes’ Family’ which described a tragic incident that had occurred to Deborah Stokes, the mother of Ben Stokes, in New Zealand in 1988. The article caused great distress to the Stokes family, and especially to Deborah Stokes. We should not have published the article. We apologise to Deborah and Ben Stokes. We have agreed to pay them damages and their legal costs.”
Deborah Stokes said: “The decision to publish this article was a decision to expose, and to profit from exposing, intensely private and painful matters within our family. The suffering caused to our family by the publication of this article is something we cannot forgive.
“Ben and I can take no pleasure in concluding this settlement with the Sun. We can only hope that our actions in holding the paper to account will leave a lasting mark, and one that will contribute to prevent other families from having to suffer the same pain as was inflicted on our family by this article.”
Stokes is on an indefinite leave of absence from all forms of cricket to “prioritise his mental wellbeing”. He is set to miss the upcoming IPL for Rajasthan Royals and doubts remain over his participation in The Ashes.