Mohamed Ali Harrath v (1) Stand for Peace Limited & (2) Samuel Westrop
Reference:  EWHC 653 (QB)
Court: High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Sir David Eady, sitting as a Judge of the High Court
Date of judgment: 30 Mar 2017
Summary: Libel - Defamation - Damages
Jacob Dean (Claimant)
Instructing Solicitors: Adam Tudor of Carter-Ruck
Mr Harrath brought the claim against the Stand for Peace website and its director Samuel Westrop over an article first published on 27 October 2014, which falsely alleged that Mr Harrath was guilty of terrorism.
Much of the Defence was abandoned or struck out following a hearing before Mr Justice Warby in March 2016, the judgment from which can be found here.
The Defendants failed to satisfy a resulting costs order against them, following which the Court made an order debarring the Defendants from defending the claim. The case then came before Sir David Eady for a hearing to assess damages.
The appropriate amount of damages.
In awarding Mr Harrath £140,000 in libel damages the Judge observed that “there was simply no evidence to support the allegation of terrorism” and stated that “the sum awarded should be such as to leave interested onlookers in no doubt as to the baselessness of the Defendants’ charge against him.”
Proceeding on the basis that the readership of the article was to be measured in only the hundreds or low thousands, the Judge nevertheless took the view that such was the gravity of the allegation, and the Defendants’ conduct of the litigation, that it was appropriate to make a very substantial award of damages.