Payment of libel damages to Solicitor Mark Lewis by the Police
In the case of Lewis v Metropolitan Police Scotland Yard has been forced to pay libel damages to Solicitor Mr Mark Lewis, based on evidence that he gave to the Media Select Committee 2009, when he claimed that a detective had told him that the News of the World had hacked into 6,000 victims.
At that time, the News of the World and Scotland Yard insisted that the scandal was limited to just one rogue reporter, Clive Goodman. Shortly afterwards, the Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Lady Buscombe, gave a speech to the Society of Editors, stating that the former Assistant Commissioner, John Yates had passed her “reliable evidence” that Mr Lewis’s evidence was incorrect.
The lawyer sued all of them in Libel on the grounds that the comments meant that he had effectively been accused of misleading Parliament.
In an embarrassing climb down, the Met agreed to pay him £30,000 in libel damages and £200,000 in legal costs.
Mr Lewis said outside court:
“The Metropolitan Police have spent about £250,000 unsuccessfully defending my claim, which could have been avoided if there had been a proper investigation into the activities in 2006, rather than one where Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcair were prosecuted. It is very regrettable that they chose to try and maintain the News of the World line that there has only been “one rogue reporter”.
The Met stated:
- “The Met had not admitted liability in this matter, but is rightfully mindful of the cost to the public purse, so we are very pleased that a potentially expensive libel action has been avoided.”
For advice as to Libel and slander proceedings call Carruthers Law today.