Apology to John Ware

Statement in open court

A statement in open court has been made as part of the settlement of the libel claim brought by John Ware, the journalist responsible for the edition of Panorama entitled ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’, against Jewish Voice for Labour and two of its officers, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Richard Kuper.

The claim related to a discussion on the Jeremy Vine show about the Panorama programme between the presenter, Ms Wimborne-Idrissi and Lord Falconer. During the discussion Ms Wimborne-Idrissi said words which, the Court ruled in August last year, meant that, as a matter of fact, Mr Ware had been disciplined by the BBC in connection with allegations he has engaged in Islamaphobia and extreme, far right politics, as a consequence of which the BBC had to apologise for his conduct; and that he was reasonably suspected of having an extensive record of Islamophobia and of involvement in extreme, far right politics.  Statements made on Ms Wimborne-Idrissi’s Facebook page, also sued on, were found to mean that Mr Ware was a reporter whose journalistic record includes right wing, racist work, and that his Panorama programme deliberately misrepresented the true position concerning antisemitism in the Labour party and was unprofessional.

Prior to the claim settling, the Defendants had entered a defence relying on reply to attack privilege, public interest under s.4 of the Defamation Act 2013, and, in respect of those parts of the Facebook statements deemed to be opinion, honest opinion.

In the statement in open court, made on behalf of all of the Defendants, Ms Wimborne-Idrissi accepted that she should not have asserted that the BBC had taken action against Mr Ware in connection with allegations he has engaged in Islamophobia and extreme far right and/or racist politics, and that this was not in any way reflected in his journalistic work. She unreservedly apologised and explained that she had made the statements because she had been so angry at the content of the Panorama programme on Labour and antisemitism.

5RB‘s William Bennett KC (instructed by Patron Law) acted on behalf of John Ware.

5RB‘s Richard Munden (instructed by SMB) acted on behalf of the Defendants.