SUNDAY TIMES LOSES 007 LIBEL CASE

The Sunday Times must pay damages to Mr Norman, after it claimed that he had not written the Bond theme...

Composer MONTY NORMAN has won £30,000 libel damages over a newspaper claim that he had not written the JAMES BOND film theme.

Following a two-week trial, the jury at London’s High Court took four hours today (March 19) to find for the 72-year-old. Mr Norman had claimed that an article in the Sunday Times from 1997 titled ‘Theme tune wrangle has 007 shaken and stirred’ had cast a slur over his entire career. The newspaper had attributed the tune to well known soundtrack composer John Barry, not Norman, who receives royalties for the theme.

The Sunday Times also now faces costs estimated at £500,000.

During the trial, Norman had branded the article “scurrilous and slovenly researched” and said it “rubbished” his entire career. He said the piece had effectively suggested he had stolen the theme in 1962 and been illegally receiving royalties which did not belong to him for 40 years.

In evidence, John Barry had explained that he was called in to work on the theme because Bond’s producers were not happy with Norman’s efforts. He said that as part of the deal, he was paid a flat fee of £250 and would be given future involvement in Bond films, if that first feature ‘Dr No’, was a success. Norman was also going to be credited for the theme.

Norman, who has also written the music for films and musicals such as ‘Irma La Douce’ and ‘Expresso Bongo’, said: “Needless to say, I am absolutely delighted and vindicated. The Sunday Times always said they were only interested in the truth. Now we have got the truth and I am delighted.”

John Barry was not in court to hear the verdict.