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Sikh holy man libel case to be dismissed

Libel case likely to be thrown out after deadline for payment of security for costs missed.

Freelance journalist Hardeep Singh looks to have finally won his four-year libel tourism fight with Indian religious leader His Holiness Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj.

His Holiness had until yesterday to pay £250,000 as a security for costs before a planned Court of Appeal hearing due to take place in March.

No money has been forthcoming so it looks like his case has failed. A brief hearing at which his case is expected to be formally struck out is due to take place at the High Court early next week.

The Singh case has become something of a cause celebre as it highlighted what many see as the injustice of a British libel system by allowing foreign claimants to drag journalists through the courts for years at great personal cost.

Singh's own costs are thought to be in excess of £100,000 and he now faces his own lengthy fight against His Holiness to recoup them. Maharaj does not have any assets in the UK.

The original libel claim stems from an article Singh wrote for The Sikh Times in August 2007 which, according to the writ, suggested Maharaj was the leader of a cult and an impostor.

Full story at the Press Gazette.

Dominic Ponsford is editor of Press Gazette