I am pleased that two food-related court case verdicts in the past week or so saw common sense prevail.
Firstly, the case for 300,000 in damages against M&S, brought by a man who slipped on an (allegedly M&S) grape in the car park outside the store. What did he think he would achieve? I mean, how many people have slipped on some debris - a chip, a slice of tomato from a kebab, a KFC wrapper - on a Saturday night and lived to tell the tale? Did he think his case would set a judicial precedent, with comedians suing banana republics for any slip ups? People who hurt themselves by accident usually just get on with life. This petty scam for a fast buck left me with a sour taste in my mouth.
Another case of sour grapes in the second hearing, when a pizzeria sued the Irish News for allegedly defamatory remarks it made about the establishment. In its review section. Yes, the classic media law balancing act between the right of a journalist to fair comment and the right of a member of the public to protection from libel or slander. A very noble principle, but should it really be expected to apply to a section written by 'critics'? Surely there's a clue in their title?
The verdict may open the floodgates to still more biting criticism from reviewers, since the judge decreed exactly what critics are allowed to get away with by law. Hold onto your stomachs, folks, here's a preview of the bile to come when food critics up the ante: