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The Littlehampton LibelsA Miscarriage of Justice and a Mystery about Words in 1920s England$
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Christopher Hilliard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799658.001.0001

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The Perfect Witness

The Perfect Witness

(p.117) 8 The Perfect Witness
The Littlehampton Libels

Christopher Hilliard

Oxford University Press

After a briefing from the West Sussex police, the DPP, Sir Archibald Bodkin, arranged for George Nicholls to return to Littlehampton and investigate further. Edith Swan was arrested and her house searched again. The search turned up some account books that could have supplied the paper for the recent libels. By the time her case came to trial, the Littlehampton libels had become a matter of more than local fascination. National newspapers reported the trial in detail. Swan was tried before a judge who found Swan’s performance in the witness box convincing and took the extraordinary step of cutting off the prosecution and telling the jury they should acquit. John Bull accused Nicholls of botching the case, prompting him to sue the paper for libel.

Keywords:   trial, scandal, media, newspapers, Daily Mirror, John Bull, libel

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