£50,000 for dentist accused of car finance fraud

BBC makes offer of amends

A Manchester dental technician today accepted a formal apology and £50,000 damages from the BBC over allegations he had been charged with car finance fraud.

Mohammed Amar sued for libel and breach of privacy over the BBC One programme “Cars, Cops and Criminals”, broadcast on 9 July 2008 and repeated days later, as well as its listing in the Radio Times. The programme showed the claimant’s face and a police raid in his home, as well as identifying him by name.

The BBC broadcast Mr Amar’s arrest and stated that Mr Amar had been charged with offences relating to car finance fraud. This was, in fact, false; Mr Amar had been released the same day as his arrest without charge.

Apologising to the claimant before Eady J, the BBC accepted that the programme conveyed the meaning that Mr Amar was guilty of involvement in car fraud.

The BBC also accepted that by printing a photograph of Mr Amar in the Radio Times listings the claimant may have been identifiable by readers who had also watched the programme, despite his face being concealed by a cap. Those readers would have understood the photograph to mean that the claimant was a thief and involved in car fraud.

5RB’s Victoria Shore (instructed by Carter-Ruck) appeared on behalf of Mr Amar, while Jacob Dean (instructed by the BBC Litigation Department) acted for the Defendant.