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Elon Musk ‘could face re-trial’ after winning defamation case against British diver

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, second from right, arrives at U.S. District Court Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Los Angeles. Musk is going on trial for his troublesome tweets in a case pitting the billionaire against a British diver he allegedly dubbed a pedophile. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Elon Musk won the defamation case after a jury sided with him (Picture: AP)

The lawyer of a British cave diver who lost a defamation case against Elon Musk said the Tesla boss could face a re-trial, according to reports.

A jury found the Tesla co-founder not liable in the case on Friday, after he called Vernon Unsworth, 64, ‘pedo guy’ during a Twitter argument.

Mr Unsworth had been involved in the rescue mission of the 12 Thai schoolboys who were trapped in a cave in July, 2018.

A court heard how the comments shared by the billionaire to his millions of followers on July 15, of that year, made Mr Unsworth feel ‘humiliated, ashamed, dirtied’.

But the diving expert lost a defamation case he brought against Mr Musk at a Los Angeles Court, after a jury agreed with the businessman following less than an hour of deliberating.

Following the decision, the Tesla boss said his ‘faith in humanity is restored’ but according to Mr Unsworth’s lawyer, he could soon face a re-trial.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 03, 2019 British cave diver Vernon Unsworth arrives at US District Court in Los Angeles, California, with his attorney L.Lin Wood (R) during the defamation trial in the case of Tesla's co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, who is being sued for defamation by Vern Unsworth, claiming he called him a pedophile in a tweet. - A British diver on Friday asked a jury to award him $190 million for defamation over a tweet in which tech billionaire Elon Musk labeled him "pedo guy." Vernon Unsworth is seeking $150 million in punitive damages, as well as $40 million for assumed and actual damages, arising from the 2018 tweet. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

It is believed Mr Unsworth’s lawyer is looking for a re-trial (Picture: AFP)

Lawyer Mark Stephens told The Mirror that post-verdict interviews with jurors suggest they chose to side with Mr Musk because he did not name Mr Unsworth in his tweets.

If this is true, he claims they have made an error which could be a ‘serious problem’.

Mr Stephens told the paper: ‘We all know jurors make mistakes on occasion.

‘The jury has given leave and licence to allow anyone to make accusations of serious criminality without accountability.

‘That is a serious problem. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a bullying billionaire or a penniless troll, that behaviour is ­destructive.’

British cave diver Vernon Unsworth attends closing arguments of his defamation trial against Elon Musk in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Mona Shafer Edwards NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Mr Unsworth became emotional as he told of the damaging effects the comments had had on his life (Picture: Reuters)

He added that he is planning to file papers to the court for a retrial by Christmas.

A court heard during the four-day trial how as a result of Mr Musk’s comments, his name is ‘tagged with being a paedophile’, adding: ‘It feels very raw. I feel humiliated. Ashamed. Dirtied.

‘From day one I was given a life sentence without parole. And at times I feel very vulnerable, it hurts to even talk about it.’

Lawyers on behalf of Mr Musk argued it was no more than a playground insult and did not represent an allegation of paedophilia.



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