Dentist loses libel & harassment case

High Court dismisses claim against Newcastle Health Care Trust

A dentist has lost a claim for libel and harassment brought against her former employer, Newcastle Primary Health Care Trust, and 12 employees of the Trust.


Denise Merelie contended that she was libelled in a letter sent by the Chief Executive of the Newcastle Primary Care Trust to the Chief Executive of the Northumberland Tyne and Wear Strategic Health Authority.


After a 3½-week trial, heard without a jury, the Mr JusticeUnderhill found that the letter was not defamatory of Ms Merelie. He also found that the publication was privileged and the allegations within the letter were substantially true.


At an earlier hearing in November 2004, Mr Justice Eady had struck out the Claimant’s case against three of the thirteen defendants.


In a 58-page judgment the judge also rejected the Claimant’s allegations that she had been the victim of a conspiracy by former colleagues to oust her from her job. He found that there had been no conspiracy and her claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 therefore failed. In addition, the judge rejected Ms Merelie’s claims for personal injury and breach of contract.


5RB‘s Adam Wolanski represented the Defendant.


Click here for the 5RB case report and full judgment.