London newspaper editor pays damages to former mayoral candidate over 'wife-beater' advert - Press Gazette

London newspaper editor pays damages to former mayoral candidate over 'wife-beater' advert

A former Mayoral candidate in a London borough has accepted damages, an apology and his legal costs from the editor of a newspaper which carried an advertisement falsely naming him as a wife-beater.

Helal Uddin Abbas sued Mohamed Yousuf Shah, editor of the London Bangla newspaper, over material which appeared in the issue dated 15-21 October 2010. 

The advert included the words "Stop Wife-Beating Mayoral Candidate Helal Abbas", and, second, an extract from that advertisement which was used in an article which appeared on the same page under the headline "A right Mayoral Punch-Up".

The story appeared just a few days before that year's Mayoral election in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in which Abbas was the Labour candidate.

Solicitor-advocate Serena Cooke, for Abbas, told Mr Justice Dingemans at a hearing in the High Court on 12 March that Shah now recognised that the allegation that Abbas had at any stage beaten his wife or been guilty of any violence during his first marriage was untrue.

"Mr Abbas felt he had no alternative but to issue proceedings against the London Bangla and Mr Shah following the publication of the advertisement," she said.

She added: "I am happy to tell your Lordship that Mr Shah now accepts that there is no truth in the allegation that Mr Abbas has been guilty of any form of domestic violence against his then-wife."

Tina Kumar, counsel for Shah, told the judge that the allegation was contained in an advertisement which appeared in the newspaper.

"Mr Shah played no part in the composition of the advertisement but he recognises that as the editor of the London Bangla he must accept responsibility for what was published in the advertisement and for his reporting of the content of the advertisement."

He recognised that there was no truth in the allegation, apologised, and was paying Abbas damages and his legal costs, she added.