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November 18, 2013

OK! magazine in five-figure libel payout to former football chairman Simon Jordan over interview with ex

By Darren Boyle

OK! magazine has apologised in court this morning  for publishing a story about former football chairman Simon Jordan’s relationship with “notorious self-confessed celebrity kiss and teller” Alicia Douvall.

The court heard that the article from 20 August 2013 “featured a character assassination” of Jordan causing him “severe distress and embarrassment”.

OK! reported on a series of allegations during its interview with Douvall without giving Jordan the opportunity to comment, a claim form said.

In court documents, Douvall was described by Jordan as "a notorious and self-confessed celebrity kiss and teller". The story claimed that Jordan had ended his relationship with Douvall after finding out she was pregnant and refused to contribute to the upkeep of the child after it was born.

The magazine will publish a full apology in its next edition as well as paying undisclosed damages thought to be five figures, and Jordan’s legal costs.

According to earlier High Court documents lodged on 16 September, the former Crystal Palace boss was seeking between £50,000 and £100,000. It is understood that OK! will receive a discount for settling the action within a month.

Solicitor Chris Hutchings representing Jordan read out a statement to the High Court this morning: “The allegations were deeply intrusive and their publication displayed a complete disregard for the claimant’s private life.  Had the defendant bothered to contact the claimant prior to publication he would have informed it that he denied the allegations. Regrettably, it did not do so and instead published its story in any event without carrying the claimant’s firm denials. “

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The court heard that Northern and Shell refused to apologise when first contacted by Jordan’s legal team and that he was forced to issue proceedings for libel on 16 September 2013.

However, Northern and Shell today admitted that the allegations in OK! were untrue.

Hutchings continued: “The defendant is here today publicly to apologise unreservedly to the claimant for the damage and distress caused and for its failure to put its story to the claimant prior to publication and then for its failure to promptly correct the position thereafter.  It has agreed to publish an apology in OK, and has undertaken not to repeat the allegations and has paid damages and legal costs. As such, the claimant considers that his reputation is fully vindicated. On the basis of the vindication now offered, the claimant is content to let the matter rest.”

Philip Johnston for Northern and Shell said he agreed with the text of Hutchings statement before also reading out a brief statement in court: “The defendant wishes to express its regret and to offer its sincere apologies to the claimant for the distress and embarrassment caused by its article.”

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