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  1. Media Law
June 19, 2012updated 14 Sep 2012 4:26pm

SOCA sued over Sun ‘paedophile leak’

By Sarah Limbrick

A retired musician who won damages from The Sun after being branded a paedophile is now taking on the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

George Gibbs says The Sun wrongly claimed he was a paedophile who had been deported from Thailand after SOCA supplied the paper with his name and passport photo.

The article led him to fear for his life, he says, claiming the allegation was untrue and that he was deported from Thailand in July 2010 after being convicted of remaining in the country without a valid visa.

Sun publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) later accepted the allegation was untrue and agreed to publish a correction and pay 'substantial'damages to Gibbs.

He is now suing SOCA for damages of £50,000 and wants to make a statement in open court claiming the organisation breached his human rights.

The March 2011 story – headlined 'Smashed: World's biggest paedo ring'– claimed he had been arrested by the Operation Rescue investigation into child sex offences.

Gibbs, 67, says SOCA's actions caused him significant distress, anxiety and humiliation.

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In a High Court writ, he claims a police officer from SOCA acted without checking the accuracy of the claims and that the body failed to appropriately respond to his complaint.

SOCA replied to his solicitors in March 2012 saying he had recently been charged with possessing indecent images, and querying how these criminal proceedings would impact on his civil claim.

Gibbs says he had not been charged with any offence, and that the suggestion he had been was extremely upsetting and distressing. SOCA, he argues, has never apologised or retracted the allegations.

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