Zahir Monir wins libel trial over UKIP Bristol Tweet

Former UKIP branch chairman ordered to pay £40,000 in damages

Mr Justice Nicklin handed down judgment on Wednesday in the case of Zahir Monir v Steve Wood, awarding Mr Monir £40,000 in damages.

Zahir Monir brought a libel claim against former Bristol UKIP branch Chairman and UKIP parliamentary candidate Steve Wood over the publication of a Tweet by the Branch’s Twitter account shortly before the 2015 general election.

The Tweet was posted by John Langley, then Vice Chairman of the Branch, comprising a photo of the Labour MP for Rotherham alongside two men, one of them Mr Monir, with the caption: “Sarah champion labour candidate for Rotherham stood with 2 suspended child grooming taxi drivers DO NOT VOTE LABOUR”. Mr Wood denied responsibility for the publication of the Tweet.

The Judge concluded that the Defendant was liable for the Tweet, despite not having posted it himself, under the Byrne v Dean principle and by agency. The Tweet was also deemed to have caused serious harm under s.1 of the Defamation Act 2013.

The 5RB case report is available here.

Judgment via Bailii is available here.

5RB’s Julian Santos appeared for the Claimant, instructed by Penningtons Manches LLP and David Hirst appeared for the Defendant, instructed by Humphreys & Co. Solicitors.