Liverpool libel trial collapses

Indemnity costs after claimant discontinues claim over malicious telephone calls

A Liverpool businessman last week withdrew his libel claim against a former colleague in the West Wirral Conservative Association shortly after the conclusion of his cross-examination.

Bahram Noorani had sued Richard Calver over a letter sent to other members of the Conservative Association which Mr Noorani claimed alleged he was responsible for nuisance and malicious telephone calls. Mr Calver defended the claim on the basis of qualified privilege and justification.

Mr Noorani had also sued in slander over a conversation alleged to have taken place with his wife. That claim had been struck out as an abuse on the first day of the trial, in the Liverpool District Registry of the High Court.

Awarding Mr Calver his costs of the action on the indemnity basis, and ordering a payment of £50,000 on account within 14 days, Coulson J said:

“It is quite clear to me that this action should never have been brought, hence the order for indemnity costs and I hope that that order and the very belated discontinuance of this claim will go some way to meeting the stress and upset that this wholly unjustified claim has brought to the defendant.”

5RB’s Jacob Dean acted at trial for the Defendant, Mr Calver, with assistance from Richard Munden, who had acted in the earlier stages of proceedings, instructed by E. Rex Makin & Co.