July 31, 2014
Mosque libel trial adjourned part-heard
Fourth Defendant too ill to attend court
A libel trial which arose from a dispute over the control of the Jamia and Al Noor mosques in Newport, South Wales, has been adjourned on its sixth day because the Fourth Defendant was too ill to continue. The Claimants’ case had just concluded and the Defendants’ was about to begin. The adjourned trial may require a further five days to reach its conclusion. This may not be until 2015.
The First Claimant, Mr Asghar, is a member of the Welsh Assembly and a member of the Conservative Party. The Second Claimant, Mr Mujahid, was involved in the management of the two mosques.
The Claimants allege that the Defendants staged a “coup d’etat” in order to remove Mr Mujahid from his position of authority in the mosques. Initially Mr Asghar acted as a mediator between the rival groups. However, the Claimants allege that the Defendants then turned on him and began to defame both him and Mr Mujahid. The Defendants did so as part of a joint enterprise. The libels complained of were contained in a defamatory leaflet distributed at a meeting in Newport Leisure Centre and in a “dossier” of libellous allegations published to a number of prominent people, including the leader of the Conservative group in the Welsh Assembly. The Claimants’ case in malice is that the Defendants decided amongst themselves to obtain power over the mosques by all means necessary and that in order to do so they agreed to publish defamatory allegations which they knew to be false or did not care one way or the other whether they were true or false.
5RB’s William Bennett is conducting the trial on behalf of the Claimants on a direct access basis.
South Wales Argus: Illness delays Newport libel trial