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Police Officer Awarded £60,000 Libel Damages.June 28, 2014
Sgt Matthew Appleyard, the Claimant, who in the 1990s was a serving police constable in a small town within the West Yorkshire Police Force, issued a libel claim in the High Court against Neil Wilby, the Defendant, who wrote an online blog entitled Unprofessional Standards Department, created by him to scrutinise West Yorkshire Police and upon which he often tweeted.
Around January 2013 the Defendant accused the Claimant in his online blog, which he repeated in tweets, that the Claimant had abused his position as a serving policeman with regard to his connection with Jimmy Saville who lived within the Claimant’s jurisdiction and with whom he and other local people took tea in Jimmy Saville’s apartment.
The Defendant accused the Claimant of safeguarding paedophiles and rapists, that he had protected Jimmy Saville from being investigated by the police and that the Claimant was a dishonest person who had himself committed sexual offences and was a danger to children.
After the Claimant had lodged his claim for libel in the High Court, the Defendant tweeted that he would see the Claimant in Court. In the meantime, the Defendant neither acknowledged service nor attended Court for judgment in default of not acknowledging service.
Mr Justice Bean in awarding £60,000 libel damages to the Claimant said that there was absolutely no evidence to substantiate the accusations made by the Defendant. Jimmy Saville had been amicable with a lot of other people and therefore would those people have been expected to know that he had committed serious sexual and paedophile crimes.
The Defendant had been adjudged by Mr Justice Bean as being an “accuser of poor credibility” and the lower quantum for damages was applied but because the accusations were deemed serious and had caused great distress to the Claimant he was therefore awarded that amount of damages.
Mr Justice Bean further gave an injunction to the Claimant to stop the Defendant publishing anymore about him.